Airlines for America (A4A), an industry trade organization for major U.S. airlines, announced it expects a record 234.1 million passengers—or approximately 2.54 million per day—will travel worldwide on U.S. airlines between June 1 and August 31, an increase of 4 percent over last summer’s 224.8 million.
Accordingly, airlines said they are adding 123,000 seats per day across their networks to accommodate the 100,000 additional daily passengers expected to fly on U.S. carriers during this period.
“We continue to see consumers value experiences and travel, and airlines are responding accordingly by increasing staffing and boosting the availability of seats in the marketplace, as well as further investing in new aircraft and customer-facing technology,” said A4A VP and Chief Economist John Heimlich.
First quarter 2017 financial results for 9 publicly traded U.S. airlines (Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines), show reported pre-tax earnings of $2.4 billion, down from $4.8 billion in 2016.
Airline profitability remains substantially below Starbucks, Apple and McDonald’s.
Additional financial results include:
- Operating revenues increased 1.5 percent to $37 billion.
- Airline operating expenses increased 9.3 percent to $33.9 billion, led by 24.3 percent growth in fuel costs and a 6.7 percent increase in employee wages and benefits.
As airlines see higher returns on capital, customers are seeing more seats.
Published airline schedules show domestic seat supply up 3.8 percent year-over-year in 2017—to its highest level in 10 years—and international seat supply up 6.1 percent, to an all-time high.
Additionally, since April 2015, U.S. airline job growth has exceeded overall U.S. job growth. In recent months, airline employment has risen 4 percent, more than double the rate of overall U.S. job growth.
Here are links to the related A4A media briefing and infographic (both PDF files).