ATLANTA U.S. airlines expect a 7 percent fall in travel this summer as the global recession hurts demand, an industry group said on Friday.
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) expects 195 million passengers to fly on U.S. airlines June 1 to August 31, down from 209 million during summer 2008.
"The weak economy has forced additional aircraft out of the marketplace, so despite fewer travelers, planes will remain near full," ATA President and CEO James May said in a statement.
Airlines have been hard hit as the weak economy caused consumers and businesses to curtail spending on travel. Many airlines have cut their seat capacity.
This month, all but two of the nine-largest U.S. carriers posted traffic declines for the month of April. Load factors, which reflect how full planes are, rose for seven of the nine, aided by the capacity cuts.
Shares of many U.S. airlines rose in trading on Friday. The Amex airline index was up 2.5 percent.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Derek Caney)