Record US air passenger numbers predicted for summer


Research by Airlines for America (A4A) shows that US airlines are expected to carry 257 million passengers from 1st June to 31st August, 2023 – an all-time high level of traffic. A4A, a US airline industry body, added that despite having to trim schedules, US airlines will be able to accommodate demand by using larger aircraft. A4A’s figures show that, year over year, US airlines are adding 297,000 seats per day to accommodate 243,000 more passengers per day.

“US airlines have been hiring aggressively for positions across the industry. We now have the most workers we’ve had in 20 years. Airlines also are reducing their flight schedules to accommodate current realities, including the FAA’s air traffic controller staffing shortages,” said Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of A4A. “It has been said time and time again that the US is the gold standard for aviation safety. We take pride in that, and we work hard at that every single day. It takes collaboration throughout the National Airspace System to maintain that safety record. Simply put, safety is – and always will be – our top priority.”

A4A’s vice president and chief economist, John Heimlich, added that, “Airlines are doing everything they can to prepare for this peak season. Roughly 487,000 full-time equivalent workers at US passenger airlines. That number is definitely above the pre-pandemic level. It is also the highest number since October 2001.”

Other experts associated with A4a also added their views:

Sharon Pinkerton, A4A’s SVP of legislative and regulatory policy stated, “We want this summer to be a summer in which we are achieving our best operational reliability. It’s in our interest to make sure that our customers are treated right and have a good experience because we compete for their repeat business. I think we’ve gone above and beyond to make sure we are ready for the summer demand. I don’t necessarily think pulling down flights is a sustainable approach for the long term.”

Former NATCA president Paul Rinaldi said, “As we look at FAA reauthorisation, we don’t want another five years of being stagnant or losing ground. We want to be bold. We need to understand what’s going on with our aviation system. As you hear, the airlines are cutting back their flights. We should be growing aviation in this country – it’s such an economic engine – we shouldn’t be reducing aviation.”

“TSA is definitely prepared,” added TSA’s assistant administrator for strategic communications and public affairs, Alexa Lopez. “Last weekend, we hit a record, screening the highest number of passengers screened since the beginning of the pandemic, and we expect this summer to be our busiest. Our staffing levels are much better thanks to finally securing better pay for all TSA employees.”

A4A’s 2023 summer outlook is available here.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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