US air travel rebounding

The number of air passengers screened at US airports on March 22, 2021 amounted to over 1.5 million. This is more than at any time since March 13, 2020. Screening refers to security checks on passengers entering airports. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) concludes that US air travel continues to rebound from a pandemic-related drop.


COVID-19 devastated air travel demand, with US airline passengers down 60% in 2020. But a growing number of Americans are getting vaccinated, which reduces the chance of getting infected. This development may stimulate people to start traveling again. In any event, advanced bookings have started to rise in recent weeks.

More passengers screened

Another sign of rebounding air travel demand is that March 22, 2021 was also the 11th US air travel, TSA screening passengersconsecutive day with a screening volume exceeding 1 million per day. But there is still a long way to go. US air travel demand is still down about 30% versus pre-COVID 19 levels. Both international and business travel demand remain weak.

International travel more down than US air travel

International air travel demand has decreased more than US demand. Recently, trade group Airlines for America said passenger demand was down 47% over pre-pandemic levels. But international travel demand was down more: 68%.

Travel bans

The USA bars most non-US citizens from travel who have been in Brazil, South Africa, China and most of Europe. Similarly, many countries restrict entry by American air travelers.

Scott Kirby, United Airlines' CEO

Scott Kirby

A short while ago, US airline executives cited concrete signs of a domestic leisure travel recovery. They expressed optimism for demand this summer and said losses were declining.

Halting cash burn

United Airlines expects to halt its cash burn in March, according to United’s CEO Scott Kirby. It is the first major carrier to say it could hit the industry’s milestone.

Related: COVID-19 and borders

Tags: US air travel, international air travel, COVID-19

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