Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Fewer flying this summer - but expect full planes

Airline travel will decline by 7% - or 14 million passengers - this summer, industry trade organization says.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Do you think the changes being made at Chrysler and General Motors will save the companies?
  • Yes, both of them
  • Only GM
  • Only Chrysler
  • Neither

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The skies will be considerably less crowded this summer, with the Air Transport Association projecting a 7% decline in air travel compared to last year.

The industry group, which represents U.S.-based airlines, said on Friday that there will be 14 million fewer airline passengers traveling over the summer.

Some 195 million people are expected to fly in the months of June, July and August, compared to 209 million during that three-month period in 2008, the ATA projected.

"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 James May, in a prepared statement.

But don't expect planes to be empty. The airlines have been cutting capacity - scaling back their least fuel-efficient flights - to make up for the ongoing decline in passengers. As a result, May said that planes will "remain near full" despite the projected drop in passengers.

Michael Derchin, airline analyst for FTN Midwest Securities, said this is actually a great time to fly for consumers because the airports will be less crowded and fares are dropping by up to 10% this year.

"This is as good as it will get for the consumer, if you have the money," said Derchin, noting that many people have lost their jobs and are therefore unable to take advantage of the low prices.

In spite of the declining fares, Derchin said the airline industry is expected to generate a $1 billion profit this year, largely because of capacity cuts, the decline in fuel prices, and additional fees for checking bags and other services that once came free.

"If they didn't have those ancillary fees, they wouldn't have made money this year," he said. To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Top luxurious hotel suites for business travelers For many people, you can't put a price on comfort. More
Million-dollar startups: These firms scored big sales their first year Their first year in business, these companies generated $1 million in sales. More
The 10 best states for retirees It might be worth moving to a new place to find your dream retirement home. Check out these 10 states. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play