Airlines forecast a jump in travel this summer

Air travel is expected to jump this summer, according to an industry group.

The nation's airlines are expecting to rebound from a harsh winter, with air-travel numbers reaching their highest level in six years this summer.

Airlines for America, a trade group for the nation's air carriers, predicted Thursday that 210 million passengers will fly between June 1 and August 31, a 1.5% increase over last summer.

The biggest increase in travel will come from a surge in international trips, with about 30 million vacationers traveling primarily to Canada, Mexico, Britain, Germany and Japan, the group said.

Ten of the 15 busiest travel days of the year will take place in the summer, it said.

Still, the projected growth in travel this summer will be lower than the pre-recession high of 2007, when 217 million passengers flew on U.S.-based airlines.

The summer surge may be the result of an improved economy, job growth, rising personal income and air fares that, according to federal statistics, rose by only 1.6% in 2013.

"The U.S. has been adding jobs at an accelerating pace," said John Heimlich, chief economist for the trade group.

He added that major U.S. carriers have added 65 new international routes, traveling to 29 countries, for this summer.

The report echoes other forecasts for a busy summer travel season.

The travel website TripAdvisor said 89% of those who responded to a survey said they planned to travel this summer, compared with 86% who said they planned to travel last summer.

According to the survey of 2,500 people, 36% said they will spend the more on travel this summer compared with last summer.

Airlines for America declined to predict air fares for this summer but said that prices had increased 0.8% in the first three months of the year, compared with an inflation rate of 1.4% in the same period.

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