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Airlines expect 200 million to fly this summer

U.S. airlines expect to carry an estimated 200 million passengers this summer, a 4 percent increase over last year, the industry's leading trade group said on Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. airlines expect to carry an estimated 200 million passengers this summer, a 4 percent increase over last year, the industry's leading trade group said on Wednesday.

The summer travel season begins this weekend, the three-day Memorial Day holiday, and runs through Labor Day, the first weekend in September.

"Low fares continue to prompt high travel volumes and the situation this summer will be no exception," said James May, president of the Air Transport Association.

However, most airlines are expected to continue to struggle financially during the summer months, usually the strongest travel period of the year.

Soaring fuel prices and cheap fares brought on by intense competition have eroded finances for a number of airlines, especially the biggest carriers. May also blames government-imposed security costs, taxes and other fees for the industry's problems.

"Right now, carriers have very little ability to pass on the additional costs in the price of a ticket due to an intensely competitive marketplace," May said.