Travel rebounds in the US: 2 million people go through US airports
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The airline industry’s recovery from the pandemic passed a milestone as more than 2 million people streamed through US airport security checkpoints on Friday for the first time since early March 2020.
Airline bookings have been picking up since around February, as more Americans were vaccinated against COVID-19 and – at least within the United States – travel restrictions such as mandatory quarantines began to ease.
It was the first time in 15 months that the number of security screenings has surpassed 2 million in a single day.
Travel is back to peak levels in the US thanks to the vaccine rollout. Credit:
The recovery is not complete. Friday’s crowds were only 74% of the volume compared to the same day in 2019. However, the 2.03 million figure was 1.5 million more travellers than the same day last year, according to the TSA.
The 2 million mark represents quite a turnaround for the travel industry, which was hammered by the pandemic. There were days in April 2020 when fewer than 100,000 people boarded planes in the US, and the CEO of Boeing predicted that at least one major US airline would go bankrupt.
Hotel operators say they too have seen bookings improve as vaccination rates rise.
Mike Gathright, a senior vice president at Hilton, said the company’s hotels were 93% full over the Memorial Day weekend. He said the company is “very optimistic” about leisure travel over the summer and a pickup in business travel this fall.
“The vaccine distribution, the relaxed travel restrictions, consumer confidence — all of that is driving occupancy and improvement in our business,” Gathright said.
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