Thankful Airlines

Trade group Airlines for America said it expects a record 31.6 million passengers to fly on U.S. planes worldwide during the 12-day Thanksgiving period, a rise of 3.7% from last year. The group is forecast that aircraft, on average, will be 87.6% full this year, the highest since at least 2009.

Although jet fuel prices are lower this year than last year, airfares are higher. Most travelers book their flights for Thanksgiving between Sept. 25 and Oct. 27 and paid $491 on average per ticket, according to AAA. That compares with an average price of $478 at the same in 2018.

Wholesale jet fuel prices in the Gulf Coast market -- which includes the nation’s busiest airport at Atlanta and fourth-busiest at Dallas -- averaged $1.86 a gallon when most people were buying airline tickets, 17% lower than in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The traveling masses are benefiting from a stronger economy, said GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.

“The solid economy is giving many more Americans the desire to hit the road or skies for Thanksgiving amidst gas prices that are pretty close in most places to last year and at far lower levels that earlier this decade,” he said.

This story was provided by Bloomberg News.

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