Airline Travel Bottomed In April

Is Airline Travel Picking Up?

It might seem like a lifetime ago since you last flew. Many frequent flyers are staying on the ground in 2020 and perhaps taking a road trip instead. Even so, more people are flying now than during the opening weeks of the pandemic. But are airline travel volumes continuing to increase?

Airlines were the least busy in April 2020 when the daily number of TSA checkpoint screenings reached their lowest levels. April 22, 2020, is the last day of fewer than 100,000 screenings (98,968 to be precise).

Since the mid-April low, the daily screening numbers have been gradually rising but appear to be at a plateau. In June, there were 353,261 daily screenings to start the month and as many as 633,810 to end the month. For August and September, the daily number of screenings has been as low as 516,068 on September 1, 2020.

The busiest flying day since the travel shutdowns began in mid-March was on September 4, 2020, with 968,673 screenings due to Labor Day weekend travel. For perspective, most travel days in 2019 had between 2.0 million and 2.6 million screenings.

Approximately up to one-third of the number of passengers are flying versus the same flight dates in 2019. Traffic volumes are slowly picking up, but a July 2020 press release from the International Air Transport Association doesn't expect a full global air travel recovery until 2024.

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