Airlines Brace for Busiest Fourth of July Yet

Skift Take

This year’s holiday is set to be one of the busiest on record as millions of Americans take to the skies during the holiday week.

With each summer holiday, airlines are continuing to see record travel trends. 

This year’s July Fourth holiday is no different – and it’s starting early. Thursday, June 27 was one of TSA’s busiest days ever, with around 2.9 million passengers screened. Friday should top 3 million. 

Through next weekend, the TSA is expecting around 32 million passengers. 

Major airlines are also expecting to see a significant increase in July Fourth travel compared to last year. Here are the stats for some of the major U.S. airlines:

American Airlines

  • American said this year’s July Fourth will be its busiest ever.
  • It is forecasting an 8% increase in customers compared to last year. 
  • The carrier said it is operating a schedule that is 30% larger than “its closest competitor.”
  • It expects July 7 to be its busiest day of the summer and is offering 6,500 flights on that day. 
  • June 27 and June 28 are also expected to be some of American’s busiest days. The carrier said it is operating more than 6,300 flights on both days. 

Delta Air Lines

  • Delta said it is expecting to fly 5.8 million passengers between June 28 and July 7, a 6% increase from 2023. That number translates to around 580,000 passengers a day for the airline. 
  • CEO Ed Bastian said on CBS Mornings June 26 that the airline is “more than ready,” for the busy holiday season.
  • “This is our Super Bowl,” he said on the morning show. 

United Airlines

  • United also said it is expecting this year’s July Fourth travel season to be its busiest on record. 
  • The carrier said it will fly more than 5 million customers between June 28 and July 8, a 7% increase from 2023. 
  • United said it is operating around 4,400 flights a day during the holiday travel season, and expects June 29 and July 7 to be its busiest travel days.
  • Some of United’s top destinations during July Fourth include: Orlando, Seattle, Boston, Honolulu and London. 

Major U.S. Airlines Set for Another Busy Travel Season

Airline executives have previously said they anticipate this year’s summer travel season to break records — once again. During a first-quarter earnings call, Delta president Glen Hauenstein said international revenues were up 12% and that the airline was expecting to see strong transatlantic demand for the summer. 

“Demand continues to be strong, and we see a record spring and summer travel season with our 11 highest sales days in our history, all occurring this calendar year,” Bastian said during the April 10 call. 

United chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said during an April 17 call with analysts that he expected the carrier would set another record this summer “as an airline and as an industry.” Nocella also previously said the carrier was also seeing increased travel demand for southern Europe, as countries like Spain and Italy have become year-round tourist destinations. 

“That is new post-pandemic,” Nocella said in January, “and we’re reacting to it and moving more and more capacity out of Northern Europe, out of London Heathrow, Germany, and into Southern Europe.”

Airlines Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of airline sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including network carriers, low-cost carriers, and other related companies.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more airlines sector financial performance. 

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.

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