Air travel numbers better than a year ago

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 4:26 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Data shows travelers are returning to the skies after the pandemic drastically cut air traffic numbers in 2019.

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1.34 million people Sunday.

That’s 86,000 more than on the same day a year ago.

However, doctors say even with vaccines, people should still be cautious about traveling.

Hailey Fletcher is one out of the millions of fliers traveling in the U.S.

“I think as long as I’m wearing a mask and staying sanitary, I’m not as concerned as earlier in the year,” said Fletcher.

Numbers at the Bismarck Airport reflect the upward trend across the nation.

“We are starting to see an increase in passengers,” said Bismarck Airport Marketing and Operations Manager Matthew Remynse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned an increase in travel during spring break could lead to more COVID-19 infections.

“Experts are still recommending that people not travel. Some of that is because there’s new variants out there. You’re way more likely to come into contact with one of the newer variants that we don’t have as much information about if you’re out traveling about,” said CHI St. Alexius Hospital Director and Critical Care Medicine Director Dr. J’Patrick Fahn.

Fahn says it’s still unclear whether the vaccine works against variants of COVID or whether the shots provide immunity.

Fahn says traveling in large groups of people opens the door for exposure.

Passenger numbers are still 45% below 2019 levels, which is a sign the industry still has a long way to go before reaching pre-pandemic levels.

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