Busy airports, roads expected amid uptick in Thanksgiving travel

Missouri roads and airports are expected to see more travelers than usual this Thanksgiving, according to various estimates, as a strong economy and low gas prices fuel a flurry of holiday travel.

Travel surge

The AAA Club of Missouri projects that 1.1 million of the state’s residents will travel around Thanksgiving, up about 5 percent from last year, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

Nationally, AAA projects some 54.3 million will venture more than 50 miles from home for the holiday. That would mark a 5 percent increase from last year and the highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since 2005, according to AAA.

That expectation is driven in large part by a solid economy, low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, according to Mike Right, AAA vice president of public affairs.

Airport traffic

Both of the state’s biggest airports are bracing for larger holiday crowds than last year.

The Kansas City Aviation Department expects Kansas City International Airport to see almost 430,000 passengers on 3,575 flights, according to a press release. That would mark an increase of about 5 percent over 2017.

Meanwhile, officials at Lambert St. Louis International Airport are projecting a 4 percent increase in departing passengers around Thanksgiving. The airport forecasted some 182,000 passenger check-ins for the period, up 8,000 passengers from last year.

Gas prices

The holiday hits as fuel prices are on the downswing, the Associated Press reports. The average U.S. gas price has dropped 12 cents per gallon over the last two weeks, driven by falling crude oil costs, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

Travelers fueling up in Missouri will enjoy the lowest fuel costs in the country, according to AAA, at an average of $2.27 per gallon.

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