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US screens record 2.95 million airline passengers in single day

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it screened 2.95 million airline passengers on Friday, the highest number ever on a single day.

The record travel coincides with the Memorial Day weekend that marks the beginning of the U.S. summer travel season. Last week, a group representing major U.S. airlines forecast record summer travel with airlines expected to transport 271 million passengers, up 6.3% from last year.

The TSA said Friday’s travel broke a record set in November of nearly 2.91 million air passengers screened. Five of the 10 busiest ever travel days have been since May 16, the agency said.

Airlines for America said U.S carriers plan to fly more than 26,000 daily flights this summer, up nearly 1,400 over 2023, or 5.6%, when they carried 255 million passengers. The summer travel season forecast is for June 1 to Aug. 31.

American Airlines said it will boost flights by 10% this summer expects 10% higher passengers over the May 23-May 28 Memorial Day travel period — nearly 3.9 million passengers on 36,000 flights.

United Airlines is forecasting it will handle 3 million travelers during the Memorial Day travel period, up nearly 10% and its highest number ever during the period.

Delta Air Lines said it expects a 5% jump in Memorial Day weekend customers to nearly 3 million customers between May 23-27.

The forecast comes as the Federal Aviation Administration is struggling to address a persistent shortage of air traffic controllers. Some airlines voluntarily trimmed New York flights last summer to address congestion issues and have raised new concerns about the lack of controllers.

Airlines can lose their takeoff and landing slots at congested airports if they do not use them enough.

The FAA extended cuts to these minimum flight requirements at New York City-area airports through October because of staffing issues, and major airlines last month asked for those cuts to be extended through October 2025.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jane Merriman)

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