An empty TSA checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, March 30. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images
The Transportation Security Administration screened fewer than 100,000 people at airports around the U.S. on both Tuesday and Wednesday, per agency data.
The state of play: The 94,931 people screened on Wednesday is down from 2,229,276 on a comparable weekday a year ago. The last time the nation averaged fewer than 100,000 air passengers was in 1954, notes the AP.
- The steep drop was fueled by plummeting demand for air travel amid the coronavirus crisis — exacerbated by travel restrictions to both Europe and China.
- Major airlines have also sharply cut their domestic schedules — in some cases by 90% from key cities.
Of note: The count is slightly inflated since it includes airline crew members and some airport employees.
The bottom line: While the airline industry received billions in funds from the government's coronavirus stimulus package, its share prices have been cut in half since the global pandemic started — and there's no telling when revenue and passenger cuts might recover.