Saying that demand for air travel is declining at a rate quicker than airlines are even trimming capacity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says traveling by plane has hit a 10-year low.
As the spread of the coronavirus continues to play havoc with everyday life, airlines are feeling the brunt and trimming flight schedules nearly every day. In fact, with the apex of the virus approaching for New York City, United just announced it is dramatically cutting back service in and out of NYC-area airports.
According to the TSA, airport security checkpoints screened fewer than 125,000 people nationwide on Thursday, April 2. That’s less than 5 percent of the 2.4 million people, including both passengers and crew members, who passed through TSA checkpoints on the same day last year.
Overall, the TSA reported that passenger counts are down about 92 percent – and “passenger traffic is falling much faster than they [airlines] can cut capacity.” In March, TSA screened just under half of the passengers it did in March 2019.
Airlines must continue to keep a minimum of flights and move cargo, as per government provisions of the bailout that was part of the stimulus package.
CNN reported that as a result of the drop in demand, about 20 percent of the US commercial aviation fleet – some 1,200 planes – are parked and have not been used in the last seven days, according to data from Airlines for America. Some airlines have decided to retire older aircraft ahead of schedule.
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