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A United Airlines Express jet takes off from Pittsburgh International Airport, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

US airlines expect record number of summer travelers

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(AP) - Planes will be packed as Americans head out on summer vacations this year.

Airlines for America, a trade group that represents most major U.S. carriers, forecast Wednesday that 246.1 million passengers — about 2.7 million a day — will fly on a U.S. airline between June 1 and Aug. 31.

That would be a 3.7 percent increase from last year's record.

The group's chief economist, John Heimlich, credits a strong economy, rising household net worth, and low fares. The CEOs of American Airlines and United Airlines have warned, however, that rising fuel prices are likely to lead to higher fares.

via GIPHY

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kickoff to the peak travel season. Last summer the airline group predicted a 4 percent increase, which turned out to be too low.

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