U.S. Airlines Expect ‘Uptick’ in Travel During Thanksgiving

By Paul Riegler on 12 November 2020
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Unlike past years, when record numbers of passengers took to the skies for the Thanksgiving holiday, travel this year will be a muted affair amidst the coronavirus pandemic-induced decline in air traffic.

In 2020, Thanksgiving travel will be “more dispersed,” said Nicholas Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing major U.S. carriers, at a news conference Thursday morning. The Thanksgiving travel period this year, he explained, will span 14 days this year instead of 12 days in previous years. 

Last year, the industry expected 31.6 million passengers to travel on U.S. airlines during the last two weeks of November. The forecast was a 3.1% increase over the prior year’s prediction of 30.6 million.

“We expect far fewer [passengers] this year,” Calio said, although “we expect an uptick from what we’ve been experiencing.”

In terms of available seats, airlines appear to expect Wednesday, November 25, to be the busiest travel day before the holiday and Sunday, November 29, to be the busiest after, said John Heimlich, who serves as the group’s chief economist.

The number of passengers traversing airport security checkpoints in the United States has been averaging 65% less than last year, Heimlich said.  In addition, travelers are seeking out warm-weather destinations such as Mexico, which in October held the number one slot by an order of magnitude in a review of the top 20 country pairs for non-stop travel with the United States. The Dominican Republic was in the number two slot.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

 

Accura News

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