American Airlines said it flew 2.7 million people over the July Fourth holiday weekend, almost three times as many as last year as customers continue to return to travel.
The carrier operated more than 26,000 mainline and regional flights, more than double its capacity a year ago, David Seymour, American’s chief operating officer, said in a note to staff.
American didn’t provide a comparison with July 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic began, but nationwide, fewer travelers passed through U.S. airports compared with two years ago.
The Transportation Security Administration screened 10 million people in the first five days of July, down by around 18% from the 12.2 million people who passed through airport security over the same period two years ago.
American increased its schedules more than competitors United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. However, last month American said it trimmed its schedule for the first half of July by about 1%, around 1,000 flights, to avoid disruptions due to weather and staffing shortages.
Airlines raced to staff up for a surge in travel demand. Southwest Airlines, for example, offered flight attendants, ground operations agents and other employees double pay to take shifts over the weekend, CNBC reported last week.
American hired 300 customer operations employees at its Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport hub “and we’re continuing those efforts across the board,” COO Seymour said.
The weekend kicked off with hundreds of cancellations and delays as thunderstorms passed through the United States.
American’s shares lost 3.3% to close at $20.31 along with a slump in other airline stocks.