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US Air Passenger Traffic over Memorial Day Weekend Down 87%, Amid Signs of Slow Recovery

A new concept for airline seats in response to coronavirus. PHOTO: Market Watch/Aviointeriors

Airlines don’t expect a quick recovery back to “normal” either. Based on their decisions about aircraft in their fleets, they expect this to drag out for years.

By Wolf Richter | 26 May 2020

WOLF STREET — This was the first big travel weekend of the Pandemic Era – meaning a holiday weekend when normally Americans like to go somewhere. So let’s see how it went for airlines.

The worst for the economy may be over, meaning that the economy, which is in terrible shape, may not get worse from here on forward, and that activity is ticking up, though the economic data that lag by weeks and months, such as unemployment rates, consumer spending, or GDP, are certainly going to get a lot worse because they’re still trying to catch up with just how bad it already is.

In the immediate near-real-time data, such as passenger air traffic, measured by the TSA’s daily checkpoint screenings at airports around the US, we can see that the economy is getting better – in micro-steps.

These TSA screenings show: One, how bad it has gotten for the travel industry; two, that activity is picking up only a tiny bit when looking at the whole scene; three, that activity remains so deep in the tank that the tiny uptick, when looked at without magnifying glass, can barely be seen; and four, that this recovery is going to be slow and take a long time. […]

2 Comments on US Air Passenger Traffic over Memorial Day Weekend Down 87%, Amid Signs of Slow Recovery

  1. I’ve been looking at flights and car rentals pretty frequently to see if prices have come down as a result of Covid and surprise surprise, at least here in NYC, the cost to fly or rent a car seem about the same as they were before Covid. Maybe that has something to do with it.

  2. Was interstate air travel ever halted as part of the lockdown? — I just assumed it was, in part because air travel from Europe was stopped — but maybe interstate air travel wasn’t halted — ? — if it was halted, since when has it again been possible?

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