Mar 16, 2021 - Economy

Air travel is slowly coming back

Data: TSA; Chart: Axios Visuals

TSA officers screened more than 1.35 million people at airports on Friday, the highest number of passengers on a single day since March 15, 2020, the latest sign that air travel is making a comeback.

Why it matters: Travel has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, but data show the trend is moving in the right direction for airlines, airport vendors and hopeful wanderers.

  • However, that likely also means that ultra-low airfares and travel deals are coming to an end.

Where it stands: “Well over half, 60% of Americans, say they will be traveling for leisure in the next three months, according to a survey done less than a week ago,” Micki Dudas, director of AAA Leisure Travel, told reporters.

  • AAA also found that 84% of those surveyed have at least tentative plans to travel in 2021.  
  • “The travel industry continues to see a parallel between the vaccine roll out and increased optimism among the traveling public, and a greater comfort level from travelers seeking to book for the summer or fall of this year,” Dudas added.

Yes, but: The number of passengers on Friday was still 20% lower than on the same day last year, and down nearly 38% from 2019, TSA data show.

  • The 7-day average of travelers is only about half of what it was at this point in 2019.
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