A stronger economy is expected to propel a record number of travelers to fly this summer.
From June 1 to Aug. 31, 223 million people are expected to fly on U.S.-based carriers, a record that surpasses the pre-recession high of 217 million in 2007, according to a forecast by Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation’s airlines.
The forecast is also 4.5 percent higher than last summer’s total, with a 4 percent increase expected in domestic travel and 7 percent in international travel.
Travel-industry experts say the increasing strength of the U.S. dollar in comparison to the euro has made travel to Europe tempting for Americans.
The trade group says the top international destinations for the summer are Mexico’s Cancun, London, Tokyo, Toronto and Paris.
After a series of airline mergers that have reduced capacity, carriers in the U.S. are now adding more seats by using larger planes. U.S.-based airlines are expected to offer 126,000 additional seats, the most since 2008, the trade group said.
The average summer airfare for domestic trips already sold for travel this summer is $454, about the same as the summer of 2014, according to a study by the Airline Reporting Corp., an Arlington, Va.-based company that handles transactions for more than 9,400 travel agencies.
Meanwhile, the average fare for a round-trip flight from the U.S. to Europe was $1,618, a 3 percent decline compared with last year, according to the Airline Reporting Corp.