The Real Numbers: Are People Flying Again?

The demand for global air travel has plummeted since the beginning of the pandemic and many airlines have grounded their fleet in response.

I thought it would be interesting to look at numbers domestically to see how many people are actually traveling and how does it compare to this time last year?

THE REAL NUMBERS

The TSA’s Public Affairs spokesperson, Lisa Farbstein, shares a lot of interesting data on her Twitter account (@tsamedia_lisaf). But perhaps the most interesting data she shares is on how many people are passing through TSA checkpoints.

In addition to the current daily numbers, she provides a comparison of how many people passed through TSA checkpoints during this time the previous year.

It’s worth noting that some days of the week are busier than others so you may see a dip in numbers but let’s look at the last 14 days and compare 2020 to 2019…

DATE# of Passengers (2020)# of Passengers (2019)% Decrease
08/17/20773,3192,576,965-70.0
08/16/20862,9492,584,444-66.6
08/15/20689,8952,171,962-68.2
08/14/20783,7442,627,564-70.2
08/13/20761,8212,602,446-70.7
08/12/20590,7492,391,906-75.3
08/11/20559,4202,306,829-75.7
08/10/20761,8612,567,986-70.3
08/09/20831,7892,647,897-68.6
08/08/20683,2122,290,340-70.2
08/07/20762,5472,725,000-72.0
08/06/20743,5992,707,986-72.5
08/05/20595,7392,430,094-75.5
08/04/20543,6012,387,115-77.2
08/03/20737,2352,619,406-71.9
08/02/20799,8612,688,640-70.3
08/01/20709,0332,367,967-70.1

Note: TSA also updates these numbers every morning at 9AM if you don’t have twitter (CLICK HERE).

In other words, airports are seeing only ~30% of the passengers today than they saw on the same date last year.

However, over the past few months we’ve seen a steady increase of passengers. On average…

  • May: approximately 227,000 passengers per day
  • June: approximately 484,000 passengers per day
  • July: approximately 669,000 passengers per day

Last week, specifically August 9th, was the first time that passenger traffic crossed 800,000 which is a significant increase from when passenger traffic bottomed out at ~87,000 on April 14, 2020.

FINAL STAMP

I find these numbers fascinating. Airlines have been implementing various measures to show the general public that they are taking steps to increase safety and have also been increasing capacity.

Are you surprised by these numbers? When do you think these numbers will return to “normal?” What measures do you think it will take for passengers to return?

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