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Air Transport Association (ATA) of America ” which represents leading US airlines ” and the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) forecast a big drop in the numbers of air travellers this summer.
Approximately 211.5m passengers are expected to fly, a 1.3% dip of nearly 3m compared with last year”s figure of 214.2m. The drop is almost 2% on domestic US flights, but rising international forecasts brought the overall percentage down.
Record oil prices ” the price of jet fuel was creeping towards $170 per barrel said the Association - a weakening economy and airline capacity cuts are the main reasons cited for this.
”For a variety of reasons, slightly fewer people will fly this summer and planes will be approaching 85 percent full,” said ATA president and CEO James May.
”While New York remains a chokepoint, airlines, airports and government are doing all they can to avoid lengthy delays when possible and to provide a pleasant travel experience for all.”
He said aircraft will be flying with relatively full loads, and that airlines will be taking every conceivable step to minimise delays and improve operational efficiencies with the cost of oil as it is.
”Unfortunately, uncontrollable factors such as bad weather can disrupt the best airline efforts,” said May. ”To help ensure smooth flying, we encourage passengers to check their flight status and check in online before leaving home, allowing for plenty of time at the airport for security and check-in processing.
”Working together, we are doing our best to make this summer travel season better than last.”
ACI-NA president Greg Principato said: ”We know that summer travel can be stressful for passengers and airports are well organised to handle unexpected schedule changes or delays. We will work closely with the airlines and the Transportation Security Administration to ensure safe and smooth operations for travelers.
”In the case of delays, airports will help to provide a full range of business and leisure services to meet passenger needs.”