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Sat, May 16, 2009

ATA: Less PAX This Summer, But Prepare For Delays Anyway

Airlines Remain Concerned That Despite Reduced Capacity, Delays May be Inevitable

The ATA has released its summer air travel forecast and its not good news... for anyone. ATA forecasts that 7 percent fewer passengers (about 150,000 per day) will travel June 1 through Aug. 31, 2009, compared to the same period in 2008. Approximately 195 million passengers are expected to fly this summer on US airlines, down from 209 million during the summer months of 2008. ATA is projecting that 7 percent fewer passengers (171 million versus 183 million) will travel domestically, and 6 percent fewer passengers (24 million versus 26 million) will travel internationally.

"The main driver behind the anticipated drop in passengers traveling this summer is the ongoing global recession, which continues to crimp demand," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. "The weak economy has forced additional aircraft out of the marketplace, so despite fewer travelers, planes will remain near full. Even with fewer flights and the airlines' heightened level of preparedness for summer travel, we remain concerned that delays may be inevitable due to the combination of an aging air traffic control system and convective weather period."

May continued, "The current air traffic control system can be transformed in just a few years by accelerating key components of NextGen procedures and technologies that can begin to deliver immediate benefits. A widely cited congressional study estimated that delays cost the economy $40 billion annually. A modernized, satellite-based system could bring that needless expense down significantly. Congress, working with the Obama administration, should seize this great opportunity by establishing a strong, forward-looking national aviation policy now.

"Passengers also can do their part to make travel more efficient and enjoyable by taking some simple measures, such as when making an airline reservation, enter your full name as it appears on the government-issued identification you plan to use when traveling. This simple measure will improve the TSA Secure Flight security-vetting process," May said.

With tens of millions of passengers expected to fly during the busy summer travel season, ATA offers the following travel tips:

  • Check with your airline for baggage and other amenity policies and plan accordingly.
  • Sign up with your airline to receive automated travel notifications delivered to your cell phone or wireless device; in the event of system delays, airlines will keep travelers informed of flight and schedule changes. Passengers can also check on the latest airport delays via the FAA Web site.
  • Use automated check-in options, offered via airline Web sites and at airport kiosks, up to 24 hours before departure.
  • Allow plenty of time for checking in and for security screening at the airport. Families and individuals traveling with medically necessary liquids can take advantage of specially designated TSA family lanes at 50 airports.
  • Familiarize yourself with the TSA air traveler Web site for permitted/prohibited items and travel tips.
  • Tag each bag, inside and out, with traveler name and contact information, and remove all destination baggage tags from previous trips.
Additional Suggestions From ANN
  • Use GA Charter Operators
  • Learn To Fly, Buy Aircraft, Sneer At Airlines Forever After...
FMI: www.airlines.org

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