As States Reopen, Anxious Travelers Flock to the Skies in Record Numbers

Just about a month ago, airline stocks began creeping back up on the hopes of a quicker-than-expected vaccine rollout.

Since then states have begun reopening, easing restrictions on businesses, just as the weather begins to warm up across the country. And, not so surprisingly, anxious travelers have responded accordingly, doing their part to help the ailing airline industry.

This past weekend, just on Friday and Saturday alone, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1.3 million people, setting a new high since the coronavirus outbreak devastated travel a year ago. And airlines believe the numbers will only go up from here, as more people will soon begin booking flights for spring and summer.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said:

“Our last three weeks have been the best three weeks since the pandemic hit, and each week has been better than the one prior.”

Even though the number of people passing through airport checkpoints topped 1 million for four straight days, with the seven-day rolling average sitting at its highest in the pandemic era, passenger traffic is still down more than 50% in March compared with the same period in 2019, signaling just how far airlines still have to go to reach normal levels again.

Regardless, investors continue to pile back into airline stocks, which rose across the board. This week, shares of American Airlines (AAL) are up more than 3%, United (UAL), nearly 6%, and JetBlue (JBLU) up more than 1%.

Originally published by the Associated Press

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