US air travel increases as Covid cases continue to fall

Lines of people waiting to go through TSA airport screening.

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US airports were the busiest since Thanksgiving over Presidents’ Day weekend, a sign that leisure travel continues to recover as Covid cases continue to drop.

The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 8.4 million people from Friday to Monday, more than double the number from a year ago, but down 7.5% from the 9 million people screened by the TSA in 2020, a month before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

U.S. airline executives recently said leisure travel continues to recover or exceed pre-pandemic levels, especially for domestic travel. Fares are expected to rise alongside stronger demand this spring as well as higher airline costs, including fuel and labor.

International business and long-haul travel has been slower to recover as businesses and individuals grapple with a host of travel restrictions and many offices have not fully reopened.

Some countries, including the UK, France and Israel, have relaxed entry requirements. Earlier this month, US airlines and several other travel industry groups urged the Biden administration to drop pre-departure Covid testing requirements for vaccinated travelers to the United States.

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