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Air Travel Is Ticking Upwards In May, Remains Near Record Lows

Screenings have gone up more than 200 percent since mid-April but remain a mere fraction of daily screenings from pre-pandemic times.

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported a steady increase in traveler screenings throughout the month of May as life begins to take shape in the era of the Wuhan coronavirus.

Screenings have gone up more than 200 percent since mid-April at the height of state and local lockdowns but remain a mere fraction of daily screenings from pre-pandemic times.

More than 250,000 people passed through airports on Sunday, compared to more than 2.6 million flyers who were screened on the same day last year. Contrast this month to about the same time in April, when fewer than 100,000 individuals passed through TSA checkpoints on 11 days. On April 14, screenings hit a record low of about 87,500 travelers.

As air travel remains dismal, airlines have sought government support to remain solvent. Ten of the nation’s 12 biggest airlines accepted $25 billion in direct federal relief to continue paying staff salaries while airports received $10 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Even as the nation begins to open up, non-essential travel remains discouraged by the Centers for Disease Control keeping most Americans at home.