Airlines for America forecasts slight dip in holiday air travel

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Washington DC
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Airlines for America (A4A), formerly known as the Air Transport Association, has forecasted fewer travellers this holiday season due to lingering concerns over the economy.

It estimates that 43.3 million passengers will fly on domestic and international flights operated by US carriers over a 21-day period, in a 1% drop from last year.

This works out to about 20,000 fewer travellers a day on average. About 1.6 million to 2.3 million travellers are expected daily during the period with load factors estimated to top 85% during the busiest days, said A4A.

"This holiday season will see a traffic decrease consistent with the slowdown reported in recent months," said A4A VP and chief economist John Heimlich. "Passengers still should expect to see full flights as many airlines have reduced capacity to match the decline in travel and increased cost of operations. Capacity reduction is one of the steps the industry is taking to preserve profitability."