Airlines expect record number of passengers this summer

NEW YORK - A record number of travelers are expected to take to the skies this summer thanks to a rebounding economy.

Industry trade and lobbying group Airlines for America predicts that U.S. airlines will carry 222 million passengers between June 1 and Aug. 31, topping the summer of 2007 when 217.6 million people flew. That figure includes 31 million travelers on international flights, also a record.

On average, there will be 2.4 million passengers a day, 4.5 percent more than last summer.

After several years of closely limiting their expansion, U.S. airlines are now quickly adding more seats, tacking on 4.6 percent more this summer. Those added seats are mostly the result of airlines flying larger planes and packing in extra rows to existing jets.