With the summer upon us, families and individuals are busy making plans to get away for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend or a traditional summer vacation.
Despite the presence of only one airline serving Monroe Regional Airport after United Airlines withdrew on Jan. 1, Monroe is still a popular option for recreational air travel.
Airport Director Charles Butcher said planes are crowded arriving and departing.
“The station managers said the flights are full for most of the summer and it looks really good,” Butcher said. “People are just starting to travel again.”
United Airlines discontinued service from MLU in January due to the effects COVID had on the air service industry. United had three scheduled flights to Houston per day, but despite the loss, Butcher said the airport has not seen a significant loss in traffic.
“We don’t nonstop to Houston anymore,” Butcher said. “It did affect that but as far as the airlines losing traffic, they’re both full according to station managers. So that’s a good thing.”
The remaining carriers, American and Delta, fly to Dallas and Atlanta, respectively.
An estimated 47.9 million people are predicted to travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend from June 30 to July 4, according to the AAA. It is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019.
Car travel is expected to set a new record despite historically high gas prices with 42 million people hitting the road, AAA said. Car travel volume, even with the national average gas price going over the $5 mark, will break previous records as 42 million cars expected to hit the roads on Independence Day.
Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancellations and delays might be contributing factors to the increase in car travel. The share of people traveling by air is the lowest since 2011, AAA said.
Friday, July 1 is expected to be the busiest day for air travel during the holiday weekend with Monday, July 4 being the lightest. For car travelers, the Thursday and Friday before the holiday are anticipated to be the peak traffic days.
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This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Travel expected to increase during Fourth of July weekend