Holiday May Set Airline Record

The airline industry expects Friday to be the busiest day in aviation history.

More than 2 million people are expected to take off for the start of the Memorial Day holiday, and more than 12.5 million people are expected to fly over the seven-day period ending next Tuesday, the Air Transport Association said Wednesday.

The group, which represents the nation's largest air carriers, predicted that load factors - the proportion of seats that are filled on an airliner - could be as high as 83 percent. Recently, load factors have been averaging about 70 percent.

The nation's largest carrier, United Airlines, has about 320,000 passengers booked to fly Friday. The airline's single-day record record is 284,077 passengers, set on Aug. 29, 1977.

The actual number who are expected to fly this Friday may not be 320,000, since airlines usually have up to 15 percent in no-shows, but it could easily break the record.