Getaway time? Air travel tops 1.5 million for first time in over a year

Local News

National Guard members screening travelers arriving at T.F. Green Airport.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — With COVID-19-fighting precautions now well in place, more Americans are inching back to air travel, according to various statistics from airport officials.

Across the United States, 1.5 million people were screened at Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoints on Sunday alone, the TSA said. That was the 11th day in a row the administration’s volume exceeded 1 million.

T.F. Green International Airport in Warwick is now averaging 2,399 people coming through its checkpoints each day, according to Daniel Velez, a TSA spokesperson for the New England region.

The highest daily number through T.F. Green in 2021 was last Thursday, March 18, when 3,317 people were enplaned, Velez said Monday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still advises against non-essential travel, across the board. But those who do travel or work on airplanes and at airports must still wear face coverings too and continue to practice social distancing, even though more people are getting vaccinated against the potentially deadly COVID-19 every day.

Since new variants of the disease keep cropping up, now is not the time to stop taking precautions, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing on March 15.

Some European countries have started seeing resurgences, she noted: “These should be warning signs for all of us. Cases climbed last spring, they climbed again in the summer; they will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated.”

Those who travel have much greater access to free rapid testing to check for COVID-19, either before they board a plane at many airports including Green, or right as they arrive.

Across the region, Velez said, this past weekend was the busiest weekend so far for the six key airports in New England.

From Friday thru Sunday, 103,764 people flew through either Green, Logan International Airport in Boston, Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn., Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire, Portland International Jetport in Maine, or Burlington International Airport in Vermont.

WEEKENDS IN NEW ENGLAND AIRPORTS
Source: TSA New England

  • March 19-21: 103,764 passengers
  • March 12-14: 96,341 passengers
  • March 5-7: 85,017 passengers

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