Air Travel up 290% (from April lows anyway)

May 17th recorded the highest travel day by US passengers according to the TSA since the COVID-19 travel slowdown. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been publishing daily counts of travelers screened by US checkpoints and comparing that data to the same weekday in the prior year.

On May 17th the TSA noted that approximately 254,000 passengers were screened at domestic airports. This is a 290% increase since the lowest travel day of April 14 which had approximately 87,000 passengers screened.

These numbers are still a pittance compared to the travel counts at this time last year and as a whole travel is still down around 90% from the prior year. The chart below shows the steady climb of travelers since the lowest travel point of the Coronavirus pandemic. As you can see, travel is slowly climbing each week.

As a whole, however, travel is down to historically low levels compared with the same time period last year. The chart below shows the daily screened passengers from March 2020 compared to the same weekday from 2019. The results are staggering.

One could conclude from this data that the worst is behind us as it appears that air travel reached it’s low point in the middle of April which travel being down around 96% from the prior year’s traffic.

Not only is it truly staggering how far travel has fallen in such a short time period, but it’s a reminder of how far the travel industry has to go before it even starts to approach true recovery levels.

That said, it is very promising to see a steady increase in daily passengers. Let’s hope this trend continues as the industry continues to employ more safety measures for passengers including requiring face masks, enhanced cleaning measures, the looming threat of TSA-sponsored temperature checks and much more.

See the chart below for the detailed numbers in table format (low points are in red):

Source of Data: TSA.gov

Note: The TSA compares the day of week to the same weekday last year given the fluctuation in daily travel. In other words, it’s more of an apples to apples comparison.

Thanks for stopping in and stay safe

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