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The airline industry is bracing for a record-high number of travelers this summer.
About 234 million passengers, or approximately 2.5 million travelers per day, are expected to fly on U.S. airlines between June 1 and Aug. 31, according to Airlines for America (A4A).
That travel volume would be a 4 percent increase from the previous summer.
To compensate, airlines are offering 123,000 more seats per day than they did last year, as 100,000 more daily passengers are projected to fly on U.S. air carriers this summer.
The uptick is being driven by low fuel prices, decreasing airfares and an improving economy, said A4A, the trade group representing most of the nation’s major airlines.
“Rising U.S. [gross domestic product], a steadily improving economy, all-time high household net worth and low airfares are fueling the expected growth in summer air travel,” said John Heimlich, A4A’s vice president and chief economist.
“We continue to see consumers value experiences and travel, and airlines are responding accordingly by increasing staffing and boosting the availability of seats in the marketplace, as well as further investing in new aircraft and customer-facing technology.”
Airline travel began surging last spring, just as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) significantly cut its screening staff.
The result was massive security lines, which led to three-hour wait times in some cases and thousands of missed flights around the country.
This year, the TSA is says it's prepared to handle the influx of travel. The agency’s Airport Operations Center will coordinate with airports and airlines to track daily screening operations, address any issues that arise, and deploy personnel, canine teams and technology wherever they are most needed.
This summer, the TSA will deploy 50 more canine teams and 2,000 more TSA officers in comparison to last year.
“As we approach the summer break, securing the travel of millions of passengers daily remains our top priority,” said Huban A. Gowadia, TSA’s acting administrator.
“It is well known that terrorists continue to focus on aviation, which is why TSA continues to focus on providing robust security screening. TSA takes many security measures, seen and unseen, while working closely with industry partners such as airlines and airports to enhance the traveling experience and ensure every passenger arrives to their destination safely.”
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