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More Americans will fly during the Christmas holiday, adding to airlines' rising profits

More people are expected to take to the skies during the Christmas holiday period, continuing the surge in travel demand that is projected to generate strong profits for U.S.-based airlines, according to industry forecasts.During the 21-day Christmas travel season, 51 million passengers are expected to fly on U.S.-based airlines, representing a 3.5% increase over the same period last year, according to a forecast by Airlines for America, the trade group for the country’s carriers.Travel demand has been growing steadily for the last four years, partly because of an improving economy and competition from low-cost carriers that has kept airfares relatively low, said John Heimlich, the chief economist for the trade ...