Airlines for America (A4A) expects 44.3 million passengers to fly on US airlines between 16 December and 5 January.
This represents a 2% increase from 2013 levels, when an estimated 43.4 million people flew by air during those 21 days.
Passenger load factors during this period are expected to reach between 80% and 90%, says A4A.
A4A says that although airlines are increasing capital expenditures, profitability is challenged by high jet fuel prices and the security tax increases outlined in the new US federal budget. Under this act, these fees increase from $2.50 per segment to $5.60.
“While we recognize the difficulty that is involved in restoring certainty to the budget process, it is unfortunate and disappointing that the airlines and our customers are being saddled with a tax increase, which serves only to drive up the cost air travel,” says Airlines for America’s vice-president and chief economist John Heimlich.