Holiday air travel traffic in the US exceeds pre-COVID levels for 2019

U.S. holiday air passenger traffic surpassed 2019 pre-COVID levels over the Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally marks the start of the busy summer air travel season in the United States, according to numbers released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday. The TSA said that about 9.8 million passengers were screened or passed through security checks over the four-day weekend, approximately 300,000 more than during the same holiday period in 2019.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), airlines, and flight monitoring websites all reported seamless travel over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, with considerable improvements over 2022 performance. According to the FAA, only 0.6% of Christmas travel season flights were canceled until Monday, compared to 2.3% in 2022 and 1.4% in 2019. On Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted, "Low levels of delays and cancellations over the holiday weekend are evidence that sector-wide collaboration to improve airline reliability is on the right track, "There will be much more work to do, and we will continue to take steps to ensure passengers are supported."

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The TSA reported screening 2.74 million travelers on Friday alone, the most in a single day since November 2019. Friday's traffic exceeded the previous peak established on Thursday, and the whole weekend exceeded pre-COVID traffic levels. The FAA said that Thursday was the nation's busiest post-COVID day, with 54,684 flights. After four days of no cancellations, American Airlines said on Sunday that it canceled only 13 regional flights or 0.2% of total planned departures.

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Airlines are often flying bigger planes to ease operations, particularly in crowded New York airspace. Airlines for America predicts a record 256.8 million passengers will travel in the June-August quarter, up 1% from the 254.6 million passengers who flew in the same time last year.

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