Air Travel Reaches Year-Long Highs as Pandemic Wanes Across the US

By Thomas Price Monday, March 15, 2021

After more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic crippling companies and businesses of all kinds, several industries have begun to finally recover in earnest as restrictions across the United States (US) are slowly eased. This has been particularly beneficial for the travel business industry, where airline companies have finally seen an uptick in overall traffic over the past few weeks. Especially as vaccination distribution continues ramping up in the US, air travel has increased as well, reaching the highest points in over a year.

Airplane taking off a runway.

Air Travel Increases in Recent Weeks

This past weekend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recorded the highest single-day total since March 15 of last year. In fact, an impressive 1.35 million passed through airport security last Friday. This number was nearly replicated again on Sunday, where over 1.34 million people were recorded once again. These noticeable upticks in air travel traffic are reassuring signs for the recovery of the overall industry following a year where business was down for every major airline company.

Over the course of 2020, air travel was down more than 60% in comparison to 2019 to just 324 million total passengers. In fact, the US airline business lost over $35 billion combined last year due to travel restrictions and pandemic-related closures. While the recent figures are still down nearly 45% compared to the same timed period in 2019, airline companies have seen more than 1 million passengers a day since Thursday — the best streak since pre-pandemic levels.

The increase in air travel has spurred some optimism from the many different companies that have been suffering, as it looks to be a sign of things to come rather than an anomaly. Business has begun to ramp back up for travel companies as states across the US have started to ease restrictions, making tourism both viable and accessible to larger groups of people. At the same time, over 100 million Americans have already been vaccinated, generating a larger and larger group of protected citizens.

Stock Market Reactions

The result of the increased travel has been good for business for every single airline company. In fact, Delta Airlines is up over 3% today, while companies such as United and American Airlines are up 8% and 7%, respectively. The boost in air travel was a sign for many investors that business is looking up for these companies, and after over a year of heavy losses, revenue growth may once again be on the horizon.

While the initial travel jump may be partially attributed to the timing of spring break for many college students, there is significant momentum toward the numbers slowly increasing for the next few months with very few interruptions.

About the Author


Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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