Snuggle Up: Airlines Expect Biggest Spring Travel Season Ever

by Daniel McCarthy
Snuggle Up: Airlines Expect Biggest Spring Travel Season Ever

Airlines expect March and April to be the biggest spring travel season on record, according to a new report from the trade group Airlines for America.  
 
The group estimates that 140 million passengers will travel during March and April, up 3% from the 136.2 million passengers in the same period last year.  
 
While all airlines are expecting to continue to break records—every single major U.S. airline reported record earnings for 2015—the continued growth is a direct result of “the accessibility and affordability of air travel today,” said Airlines for America vice president and chief economist John Heimlich.  
 
That comes thanks to the continuing drop in fuel prices, which is allowing value airlines to provide some of their lowest fares ever. Last month, low-cost carrier Norwegian Air said it will offer flights to Paris starting at just $175 from New York, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale beginning July 29. Canadian airline WestJet started 2016 off by offering one-way fares from Toronto to London for as low as C$248. 

And Southwest, after announcing new routes to Long Beach, CA, offered cross-country one-way fares starting at $58. 
 
Overall numbers for 2016 also are expected to set a record, breaking last year’s record of 790 million passengers total.  “With more reliable operations, lower airfares, more seats in the marketplace and a steady stream of new and larger aircraft—airlines are seeing a record number of travelers,” Heimlich said.  
 
Another boost for American airlines is coming from the restoration of scheduled airline service to Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years.  All major American airlines applied for some of the 20 round-trip flights per day between the United States and Havana, and 10 daily round-trip flights between the United States other Cuban cities, allowed by the new agreement. 

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