Record Summer Travel Expected in 2015; Top-5 International Destinations

U.S. air carriers expect a record-high 222 million passengers, or about 2.4 million per day, to fly on a U.S. airline from June 1-Aug. 31 this year, according to Airlines for America (A4A).

That would be a 4.6% increase over 2014, the association says, and would include 31 million expected travelers on international flights. To meet the expected demand, A4A says airlines are increasing the number of available seats by 4.6% during the period.

“The continued rise in U.S. consumer sentiment and employment is leading to more people traveling more often, and air travel remains one of the best consumer bargains in America,” says John Heimlich, A4A vice president and chief economist in a statement. “With 13 of the 15 busiest air travel days of the year falling in the summer months, U.S. airlines are well-prepared to accommodate the increased travel demand by adding flights and seats, and deploying new and larger aircraft, along with a boost in staffing to enhance the customer experience.”

Top international destinations

A4A says published airline schedules for its members show the following as the top-five international destinations from the U.S.:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • The UK
  • Germany
  • Japan

“Year over year, airlines are adding the most seats to the marketplace for flights between the United States and Mexico, the United Kingdom, and China,” A4A says in a statement.

Q1 results

A4A says the 10 publicly traded U.S. air carriers for which it has data reported a 2015 first-quarter net profit of $3.1 billion, an 8.4% net profit margin, which is up from a 1.1% net profit margin in 2014’s first quarter, but, A4A says, under the U.S. corporate average of 9.8%. Operating revenues are up 3.1% year-over-year.

Operating expenses were driven by wages and benefits, which increased 10.5% and overtook fuel for the industry’s top operating expense.

“Healthy air-travel demand and lower, yet still volatile, fuel prices are helping U.S. airlines close the gap to average U.S. corporate profitability,” Heimlich says of the airlines’ results.