Although the increases were significant, the pandemic inflicted an unprecedented blow to the industry. On the busiest day of May, only 14% of travelers flew compared to the equivalent day in 2019.
More passengers come to each flight. According to Airlines for America, domestic flights carried an average of 47 passengers this weekend, with an average of 17 passengers at the beginning of May.
These loads are unprofitable, so more passengers on flights means that airlines will burn less cash on each take-off and landing.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said on Friday that his company “expects a more brutal, low-priced environment from customers, as it currently has a lot more airline seats and will be for a while.”
Frontier Airlines is preparing for an increasing number of passengers on their flights by scanning the temperatures at the departure gate and refusing to board everyone hot. Airlines call on the Transport Security Administration for America to conduct temperature scans.
Airlines adds to their schedules and more planes are flying. In the industry, nearly 200 fewer planes are idle than mid-May, when airlines have parked more than 3,200 planes. Tracking service FlightAware announced that it has seen an increase of approximately 7% in US flights since May.
Southwest is bullish enough to add about a dozen new routes to this winter program.
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