Rebounding Travel: US Passenger Numbers Edge Closer To 2 Million

Just about every week, the US is beating out its passenger numbers. The growth seen over the recent…

Rebounding Travel: US Passenger Numbers Edge Closer To 2 Million

Just about every week, the US is beating out its passenger numbers. The growth seen over the recent weeks in daily numbers is a testament to the rebounding American air travel market. As summer approaches, the US on Sunday, May 16th, saw 1.85 million passengers take to the sky. If current trends continue, then this summer could see a return to pre-crisis levels.

Travelers are coming back, and airlines are bringing their capacity back accordingly. Photo: Getty Images

The US hits new record daily traveler numbers

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recorded 1,850,531 passengers entering through a security screening checkpoint. This beat out the previous record set only a few days before, on May 13th, of 1,743,515 passengers.

This was the first day since the start of the crisis when the TSA saw over 1.8 million people fly in one day. Sundays are typically high water marks for passenger numbers and emphasize the strength of leisure customers in the airline recovery.

Passengers Getty
Travel numbers are still trending upwards, though there is still room to go until numbers hit a full recovery. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

A growing number of travelers

Since March, passenger numbers in the US have seen a strong upward trend. As vaccinations roll out, travel restrictions come down, and people have more reasons or are more willing to fly, airlines have seen bookings go up, and more seats go out filled.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays continue to remain lower travel days, as they are usually heavier business traveler days. However, as the summer vacations roll out and leisure travelers start to have more flexibility without kids in school, those days should also see a similar bump in travel. These two weekdays have also seen improving travel numbers.

The graph below shows excellent growth with daily variability:

Daily Traveler Numebrs
Daily passenger numbers show variations but are, in general, on an upward trend. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

Looking at week-to-week data, some other trends are evident:

Weekly passenger numbers
Weekly TSA passenger numbers. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

There was significant, as in multi-million passenger growth, from week to week in March. Mid-March, which is when most schools go on spring break and families and college students travel, saw significant passenger growth. It was around mid-March when passenger numbers started to register above one million in a day consistently.

Comparing it to 2019, weekly numbers are starting to recover significantly:

2019 vs. 2021 Travel Numbers
Comparing weekly traveler numbers from 2019 to 2021. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

Currently, numbers are around 65-66% of what they were in 2019 and remain on an upward trend. In early March, numbers were around half of what they were in 2021.

Memorial Day, which is only two weeks away, is a holiday to watch. An unofficial start to the summer, this long weekend should help propel passenger numbers upwards. Memorial Day could be the holiday that pushes daily numbers above two million. If it does, it could set the tone for summer.

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Summer momentum

Assuming passenger numbers continue their upward trend, this should position the recovery at north of 70%, and even into the 80% range, this summer. United Airlines, today, announced it was boosting its July schedules, bringing it to 80% of pre-crisis capacity in the US.

US Airlines Getty
The summer is expected to be a good one. Photo: Getty Images

As international travel restrictions start to come down, this should also increase the number of passengers taking to the skies. Also, on the international front, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Mexico show strong signs of a rebound, and some airlines have pointed larger planes to the region to capture increased demand.

Passengers are coming back. Airlines are still not out of the woods yet when it comes to profitability, but the airline industry is well on its way to recovery. As passenger numbers increase, loads and yields should follow. While airlines will still need to do some demand stimulation on price in select markets and days, the revenue management systems can start to turn back on, and airlines can have some more command over pricing.

Are you planning summer travel? What do you think about returning passenger travel demand? Let us know in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Saudi Arabia Will Continue To Ban Travel From 20 Countries

With Saudi Arabia set to open up international travel today, 20 countries will still be banned from flying…

Saudi Arabia Will Continue To Ban Travel From 20 Countries

With Saudi Arabia set to open up international travel today, 20 countries will still be banned from flying to the Middle-Eastern nation to curb the spread of COVID-19. The banned countries include the US, Brazil, the UK, France, Germany, India and Japan.

There are still concerns about new variants and travelers from high-risk countries. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Saudi Arabia bans travel from 20 countries

Despite lifting its ban on international flights at 1 AM local time today, Saudi Arabia will continue to maintain its travel ban on 20 countries. The ban will remain in place for countries that Saudi Arabia deems as high risk.

The banned countries in question are Argentina, the UAE, Germany, the US, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the UK, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India and Japan.

Saudia-Aircraft-new-aircraft-Financing
Saudi Arabia’s national airline, Saudia, revealed the restrictions would remain in place. Photo: Airbus

Non-citizens have been banned from flying from the aforementioned countries since Feb 3rd. The ban includes travelers who have passed through any of these countries in the 14 days prior to entering Saudi Arabia.

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Vaccinated citizens are now free to leave

Saudi Arabia has maintained strict control over outbound citizens to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Since March 2020, Saudi citizens have been unable to leave the country, with the measures designed to stop new variants from entering the country.

However, with Saudi Arabia making good progress in its vaccination program, citizens are now free to leave the country for the first time in over 14 months. Saudi Arabia has vaccinated approximately 11.5 million citizens (at least one jab) out of a population of 30 million.

Saudia Boeing 787
Saudi Arabia will allow vaccinated citizens to leave the country after 14 months of restrictions. Photo: Saudia

According to Arab News,

“The categories include those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, those who received one dose at least two weeks prior to travel, those recovering from the virus within six months from the date of travel, and citizens under 18-years-old.”

There are 13 countries to which Saudis are still banned from traveling. According to UAE-based news outlet The National,

“The banned countries are Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen. They are no-go zones because of instability or surges in coronavirus cases.”

Saudis were seen lining up in droves to cross the King Fahd causeway into Bahrain early this morning.

No quarantine for vaccinated and recovered travelers

In addition to lifting restrictions on its own vaccinated citizens, Saudi Arabia will allow vaccinated and recovered travelers from most countries to enter without quarantine measures. Previously, all travelers entering Saudi Arabia needed to undergo a seven to 14-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has now said that, from May 20th, non-citizens who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 are exempt from the country’s mandatory hotel quarantine. Travelers will need to present an official vaccination certificate upon arrival.

IATA Travel Pass
Fully vaccinated and recovered travelers won’t have to quarantine in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Saudia

All unvaccinated travelers over the age of eight are required to quarantine for seven days and provide a negative PCR test on day six. Additionally, a negative PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival is required, and travelers must have a valid health insurance policy. Tourist visa holders are also still not allowed into Saudi Arabia, no matter what the country of origin.

Do you think Saudi Arabia has made the right decision to open up travel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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