Travel Rebound: 2 Million People Pass US Airport | Chicago News
Dallas (AP) — The aviation industry’s recovery from a pandemic has gone through a milestone as more than two million people passed the US airport security checkpoint on Friday for the first time since early March 2020.
The Transportation Security Administration announced on Saturday that 2.03 million travelers were screened at airport checkpoints on Friday. It is the first time in 15 months that the number of security screenings has exceeded 2 million in one day.
Airlines bookings have increased since around February as more Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel restrictions such as forced quarantine have begun to be relaxed, at least in the United States.
Recovery is not complete. According to the TSA, Friday’s congestion was only 74% of the volume compared to the same day in 2019. However, according to TSA, 2.03 million travelers were 1.5 million more than on the same day last year.
The 2 million mark represents a significant turnaround for the travel industry, which was hit by the pandemic. In April 2020, less than 100,000 people boarded a plane in the United States, and Boeing’s CEO predicted that at least one major US airline would go bankrupt.
Most airlines are still losing money. Southwest Airlines had a modest first-quarter profit, thanks to its $ 64 billion share of the federal pandemic bailout to the industry, but other companies are expected to follow suit later this year.
The fear of large-scale layoffs has increased. United Airlines, which lost $ 7 billion last fall and threatened to dismiss 13,000 workers, told employees this week that it would be safe to work without federal funding in October.
This is because airlines like United are willing to save the peak summer season. Overseas travel and business trips are still in serious decline, according to airline officials, but domestic leisure travel is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.
The airline plans to bring employees back from voluntary leave and hire a few pilots and other workers later this year.
Hotel operators say they saw bookings improve as vaccination rates increased.
Mike Gaslight, Hilton’s senior vice president, said the company’s hotel was 93% full on Memorial Day weekend. He said the company was “very optimistic” about the increase in leisure trips in the summer and business trips this fall.
“Vaccine distribution, relaxation of travel restrictions, consumer confidence, all of which drive our business occupancy and improvement,” says Gaslight.
Prior to the pandemic, TSA screened an average of 2 to 2.5 million travelers per day. The lowest amount of screening during the pandemic was on April 13, 2020, when only 87,534 people were screened at the airport security checkpoint.
By mid-last month, the average daily amount of TSA screening was about 65% of pre-pandemic levels.
As the summer travel season approaches, the TSA expects the number of travelers to approach and in some cases exceeds pre-pandemic levels at certain airports, so there is enough time to accommodate the increased screening time at the airport. We advise passengers to arrive at.