We will hit it for sure. Capacity is ramping up and up. I’m curious if the big 3 are going to be adding sections and maybe bigger equipment as stuff gets full.
What extra capacity? Between the huge number of AC permanently parked, pilots offered early retirement, and at some airlines, pilots still not re-qualified from the displacements - I can’t imagine there is much big 3 capacity on the shelf right now. And the ULCC are basically in the ballpark of 2019 capacity or will be very soon. The math just doesn’t add up to there being enough seats flying this summer to hit 2019 numbers.
The remaining international wide body fleets can’t be fully deployed yet. It might work out really well to deploy them domestically over the summer. For capacity and so the crews can get re qualified for the international recovery.
That's somewhat happening to the extent possible but there are some complications. DL for example has some widebodies (A332, B764, and maybe a few A333) that are going to stay in storage until next summer. Some are due for heavy maintenance, and there is a huge backlog on catching up on maintenance work from when so much of the fleet was parked in 2020. Some of that also is that they aren't going to be needed for international routes until Summer 2022. They are kind of planning what they thing their widebody needs are going to be for the rest of 2021 and early 2022 when more international opens up, but after the peak summer spike of leisure travel declines in the fall.
We are able to get these bigger numbers in May because of:
1) More capacity added in beginning of the month, including DL opening up middle seats
2) Higher load factors
Like said, additional capacity is going to come from primarily increased utilization of aircraft already in service. Extending the operating day, but only were it makes sense.
Like said, at DTW there used to 30+ departures prior to 7am, including several in the 5-6am hour. Right now there are less than 10 flights that depart before 7am, and the first departure is 6:00am
Same thing in the evening, DL used to have 30-40 departures after 10pm, now the last flights depart between 9-9:30pm.
The biggest days in 2020, typically Summer Fridays, were above 2.7 M passenger screening. My guess is this summer will probably see some of those days approaching 2.2-2.3 M.