DALLAS – The recovery of the airline industry after the pandemic has reached a milestone as more than 2 million people flocked through the US security post at the airport on Friday for the first time since early March 2020.
The Transportation Safety Administration announced on Saturday that 2.03 million passengers were selected at the airport’s checkpoints on Friday. It was the first time in 15 months that the number of safety checks in one day exceeded 2 million.
Airline bookings have been on the rise since about February, as more Americans were vaccinated against COVID-19 and – at least within the United States – began easing travel restrictions such as mandatory quarantines.
The recovery is not complete. The crowd on Friday was only 74% of the volume compared to the same day in 2019. The figure of 2.03 million, according to the TSA, was 1.5 million more travelers than on the same day last year.
The 2 million mark is quite a turnaround for the travel industry, which has been hit by the pandemic. There were days in April 2020 when less than 100,000 people in the US boarded planes, and the CEO of Boeing predicted that at least one major US airline would go bankrupt.
Most airlines still lose money. Suidwes made a meager profit in the first quarter thanks to its $ 64 billion stake in federal pandemic relief for the industry, and others are expected to follow later this year.
The fear of large-scale branches has increased. United Airlines, which lost $ 7 billion last fall and threatened 13,000 workers last year, told employees this week that their jobs are safe even when federal funds run out in October.
This is because airlines like United have been raised over the storage of the peak summer holiday season. International travel and business travel are still deeply depressed, but domestic leisure travel is roughly back to pre-pandemic levels, airline officials say.
The airlines are revoking employees from voluntary leave and plan to hire small numbers of pilots and other workers later this year.
Hotel operators say bookings are also being seen as vaccination rates rise.
Mike Gathright, a senior vice president at Hilton, said the hotel’s hotels were 93% full during Memorial Day weekend. He said the company is “very optimistic” about the holidays during the summer and a pick-up point in business trips this fall.
“The distribution of vaccines, the relaxed travel restrictions, consumer confidence – it’s stimulating occupancy and improvement in our business,” Gathright said.
Prior to the pandemic, the TSA screened an average of 2 million to 2.5 million travelers per day. The lowest performance volume during the pandemic was on April 13, 2020, when only 87,534 individuals were selected at the security post at the airport.
By mid-last month, TSA’s average daily volume for impressions was about 65% of pre-pandemic levels.
As the summer travel season approaches, TSA advises passengers to arrive at airports with sufficient time to accommodate increased screening time, as passenger volumes are expected to approach and in some cases exceed pre-pandemic levels at certain airports.