Airlines adding seats for holiday period, trade group says

Welcome sign at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

U.S. airlines are adding seats and staff to accommodate travelers during the busy holiday travel season, trade group Airlines for America said Thursday.

This year, some 25.1 million passengers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines during the 12-day  Thanksgiving holiday period, which runs Nov. 22 through Dec. 3, A4A said. That's an increase of about 1.5 percent over last year.

Last year, more than 500,000 passengers were forecast to travel through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and nearly 153,000 through Palm Beach International for the Thanksgiving holiday.

A4A said U.S. airlines have also added 2 percent more available seats during this 12-day holiday period.

Planes are expected to be more than 85 percent full on the busiest travel days, which are expected to be Dec.1, followed by Nov. 27 and Dec. 2, the industry group said.

New routes slated to launch ahead of Thanksgiving are also poised to boost local airport traffic.

For example, JetBlue AirwaysFort Lauderdale to Worcester, Mass., non-stop daily flight launched Thursday and the airline also started service between Orlando  and to Worcester the same day.

“We are excited to make Worcester our 80th BlueCity today, being part of revamping the airport and connecting it with two high-demand destinations, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Orlando,” said Marty St George, JetBlue's senior vice president marketing and commercial strategy, in a statement.

JetBlue’s new Fort Lauderdale to Lima, Peru route is slated to begin Nov. 20 and at Palm Beach International, officials will celebrate American Airlines inaugural nonstop service to Los Angeles, Calif. on Nov. 21.