Record 140 Million U.S. Fliers to Tap Low Fares This Spring

The number of passengers flying in the U.S. this spring will rise 2.8 percent to a record 140 million, supported by affordable fares and available flights, according to industry group Airlines for America.

About 2.3 million people will fly daily during March and April, the lobbying association for major U.S. airlines said in a statement Wednesday. That’s an increase from 136.2 million, or about 2.2 million daily, in 2015. The numbers include more than 17 million travelers on international flights.

“The continued growth in passenger volumes can be attributed to the accessibility and affordability of air travel today,” said John Heimlich, Airlines for America’s chief economist. “To meet the extra demand, airlines are deploying new and larger aircraft on many flights.”

Ten publicly traded U.S. airlines reported a combined $23.2 billion in pretax earnings in 2015, the trade group said in a review of 2015 results. Operating revenue was little changed as a 5.1 percent decline in fares offset a 4.4 percent increase in passenger traffic. Airline operating costs fell by $14 billion, or 9.5 percent, mostly on lower fuel prices.

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