LONDON, England: Despite rising air fares, a potential global economic recession and risks of gridlock at some airports in Europe due to labor disputes, online searches by Americans for flights to Europe trips have surged.
US carriers are, therefore, increasing transatlantic capacity to cash in on Americans' demand for travel to Europe.
Amid rising interest rates, high inflation, mass job cuts and a global banking crisis, the potential record profit margins from the travel boom have kept some US carriers upbeat about travel spending.
The end of COVID-19-travel restrictions in Europe is encouraging more people to travel, as well as the strong US dollar and more flexible work arrangements.
March data from online travel agency Hopper reported that 37 percent of searches for international travel this spring from Americans are for flights to Europe, 9 percent higher that the same period before Covid in 2019.
Also, searches for travel to Europe this summer are up 77 percent compared to 2022, according to travel website Kayak.
"There is still untapped travel demand for Europe, even after a busy summer last year," noted Hayley Berg, lead economist at Hopper, as quoted by the Associated Press.
The surge in demand from American travelers is benefitting Europe's travel industry, which is facing lower revenues as cash-strapped local travelers are looking for less expensive holidays, and fewer high-spending Chinese travelers are visiting.
Transatlantic travel is the airline industry's highest earning long-haul market, accounting for between 11 and 20 percent of passenger revenues at the big three carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, last year.
Hopper data also indicated that the average fare for a round-trip flight to Europe rose 31 percent since 2022.