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Nearly 24 million passengers will fly during the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday season on planes that are expected to be full.
The nation’s airlines expect the number of passengers traveling from Nov. 16 through Nov. 27 to increase by about 150,000 people, slightly higher than last year, but 10 percent below the peak travel years of 2006 and 2007. Planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full on the busiest traveling days, which are expected to be Nov. 25 (2.4 million passengers), Nov. 21 (2.3 million passengers) and Nov. 26 (2.3 million passengers).
Despite a 5.6 percent increase in revenues, airlines face 6.2 percent higher costs, reducing profits to a margin of .2 percent – or roughly 50 cents per passenger -- for the 10 largest U.S. carriers. A key factor in higher costs has been the price of jet fuel averaging $3.08 per gallon, outpacing the 2011 record high of $3 per gallon.
According to A4A, while domestic airfare rose about 4 percent year to date, it has not kept pace with inflation, and in real dollars it costs 16 percent less to fly today than it did in 2000. Details: www.airlines.org.