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Airline trade group sees 5 pct surge in U.S. Labor Day air travel

NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Labor Day air travel will get a boost this year, fueled by affordable ticket prices and higher household wealth, an industry trade group reported on Wednesday.

U.S. airlines will carry a projected 16.1 million passengers worldwide between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, up 5 percent from the 15.4 million passengers carried in last year's holiday period, according to Airlines for America (A4A).

"While we expect a growth in passenger traffic over the Labor Day holiday (Sept. 4), flyers can rest assured that U.S. airlines have appropriately increased the number of seats available for their late summer getaways," A4A Vice President John Heimlich said in a statement.

Domestic travel will drive most of the increase, Heimlich said, as travelers vacation closer to home in the shorter Labor Day holiday break.

An increase in average domestic capacity will also fuel higher traffic numbers, as industry capacity is at its highest since 2007, Heimlich said.

In 2016, U.S. airlines carried a record-breaking 823 million passengers, 719 million domestically, surpassing the previous high reached in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by James Dalgleish)