Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Thursday morning, May 24, 2018 as the Memorial Day travel holiday was underway. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Summer to bring record number of airline passengers

If you’re flying this summer, be prepared for crowds in the airport and on the plane.

A record number of passengers are expected to take to the skies this summer, according to an airline industry group.

Airlines for America forecasts that a record 257.4 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines from June through August. That’s an average of 2.8 million passengers a day.

The forecast is for a total that’s 3.4 percent higher than the record of 248.8 million passengers last year, according to the airline association. Summertime airline passenger counts have been increasing for 10 years in a row.

The airline industry group says flying has become more affordable. Many passengers must pay extra for checked bags and other items or services. But when average 2018 base air fares are adjusted for inflation, they were the lowest on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which samples 10 percent of tickets sold.

Airlines for America also noted that the federal government is diverting U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from airports to the southern border, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported.

“If this is permitted to continue, it will lead to excessive lines and wait times for passengers and cargo entering the country from overseas,” Airlines for America said in a press release. “That would discourage leisure and business travel to the U.S. and jeopardize the economic benefits that come with it.”

Some Transportation Security Administration staff are also being asked to volunteer to deploy to the southern border.

The airline industry group and other aviation and travel industry associations wrote a letter to Senate leaders pushing for more funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer staffing and overtime, including at airports.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.