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December 13, 2012

Packed planes expected for holiday travel season, industry group says

Cheap airfares and a recovering economy means planes will be packed over the holiday travel season, according to an industry trade group.

On Thursday, Airlines for America said it expects about 42 million travelers will fly between December 17 and January 6 with planes at about 85 percent load factors during that period. On the busiest days, including Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, load factors could reach 90 percent, the trade group said.

"U.S. carriers are reporting strong bookings relative to capacity this winter holiday period," said A4A chief economist John Heimlich. "This is a great time to travel, as carriers are staffed to accommodate the influx of holiday travelers and airfares remain a bargain, having significantly trailed U.S. inflation."

Daily passenger volumes are predicted to range between 1.5 million and 2.3 million.

-Andrea Ahles

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Pawan

The U.S. airline industry expects 42 million passengers to fly from Dec. 17 through Jan. 6. That's down about 300,000, or 1%, from last year, the industry group Airlines for America says. The group attributes the slight drop to a still tepid economy.

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