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More international travelers expected on U.S. airlines this summer

May 09, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • An airline trade group predicts more international trips this summer. Above, passengers wait to go through security screening at Los Angeles International Airport.
An airline trade group predicts more international trips this summer.… (Mark Boster/Los Angeles…)

U.S. airlines are expected to carry a record number of international travelers this summer, according to a forecast by an industry trade group.

U.S.-based airlines will carry 26.8 million international travelers this summer, compared with 26.3 million last summer, according to a forecast by Airlines for America, the trade group that represents the nation's largest airlines.

Meanwhile, the nation's airlines are expected to carry 179.4 million domestic travelers, compared with 179.8 million in the summer of 2011, the trade group said.

In an interview, John P. Heimlich, chief economist for the trade group, said he believes the increase in international travelers can be attributed both to foreign travelers visiting the U.S. and to Americans traveling abroad.

The trade group attributed the growth in international travel to an improving economy domestically and a surge in travel from countries with burgeoning economies, such as China, Brazil and Australia.

Heimlich declined to discuss airline ticket prices for the summer but emphasized that air travel costs have not kept pace with inflation over the past decade. "Historically, it's still pretty cheap to fly," he said.


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