More than 500,000 people crossed through US Transportation Security Administration checkpoints on Thursday, the first time the numbers have climbed above that mark since travel cratered this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 502,209 people TSA reported screening is still well below typical levels — nearly 19% of the 2.7 million the agency screened on the same Thursday last year.
The passenger rates have steadily risen since bottoming out at about 3% of last year’s traffic – less than 100,000 daily travelers — in mid-April.
Airlines are operating more flights than at that point, and each plane is also carrying more passengers.
Airlines for America, representing the major US carriers, said Thursday that the average departure carries 57 passengers, compared to 50 the group reported on Monday and fewer than 20 at the low point.