(NEXSTAR) – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 2 million passengers on Friday, and for the first time since March 2020.
“The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in COVID-19 counter measures, to include ready access to vaccines,” said Darby LaJoye, the senior official performing the duties of TSA Administrator, in a press release. “TSA stands ready to provide a safe and secure screening process as part of the overall travel experience.”
Friday’s 2 million travelers — 2,028,961 to be exact — indicate a slow climb toward pre-pandemic numbers, according to the TSA. Prior to the pandemic, the average traveler throughput on any given day usually ranged between 2 and 2.5 million passengers, the TSA said.
Over the last 15 months of the pandemic, however, the number of airline passengers screened at U.S. checkpoints had dropped dramatically. On one day in April 2020, just 87,534 passengers had passed through TSA checkpoints — a record low.
The last time the TSA recorded over 2 million screened passengers was March 7, 2020, or less than a week before the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus crisis a global pandemic.
The TSA is currently advising travelers to give themselves extra time when arriving for a flight, as passenger volume is expected to increase in the coming months.
“As the busy summer season approaches, TSA advises passengers to arrive at the airport with sufficient time to accommodate increased screening times as traveler volumes approach, and in some cases surpass, pre-pandemic levels at certain airports,” the agency wrote in its press release.