Fewer air travellers, fuller flights expected during the US holiday

04 November 2011 19:56  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The 12 days surrounding the US Thanksgiving holiday, which falls on 24 November, is projected to have a drop in passengers accompanied by fuller flights, said an industry spokesman.

“The reason we say there is going to be a drop is because of the low consumer confidence in this country,” said Air Transport Association (ATA) spokesman Steve Lott. “We still have a stubbornly high jobless rate. A lot of families in the country have little disposable income.”

The holiday season is expected to have 37,000 fewer US travellers per day than last year. The ATA expected about 23.2m air travellers will fly on US carrier’s in domestic and international flights during the holiday period, a 2% year on year drop.

“A lot of it has to do with the economy. The Thanksgiving travel period is largely a leisure travel period,” Lott said. “People are going on vacation and visiting friends and family.”

Lott said much of the revenue for airlines from air travel is through business travel, where tickets are often bought closer to the date of travel at a higher price.

The Sunday and Monday following Thanksgiving will be the busiest travels dates, with an expected 2.3m and 2.2m passengers, respectively. Thanksgiving Day will have the fewest travellers, with an expected 1.3m, the ATA said.

The planes will be filled to capacity for the holiday season as airlines have reduced capacity and the amount of seats starting in September and October, Lott said. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the ATA expects available seats to be down by 1.6%.

“In the airline industry, the name of the game is matching supply and demand,” Lott said. “Supply is the number of seats available and demand is the number of people who want to fly."

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Sheena Martin
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