Air travel jumps as vaccinations spur bookings, stocks surge


A Delta Airlines Boeing 757-251 approaches Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia on February 24, 2021.

Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

Air travel over the weekend hit the highest levels in over a year as vacationers return, boosting outlooks at several major carriers.

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1.34 million people on Sunday, 86,000 more people than the same day a year ago, shortly after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

That figure was still 45% below 2019 levels, a sign the airline industry still has a long way to go before recovering to pre-pandemic levels. But TSA screenings topped 1 million every day since Thursday, hitting the best stretch in a year.

Airlines are growing more optimistic. Both Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways on Monday each said they logged increases in demand in March, as more people are vaccinated. Shares in those carriers were up 2% apiece in premarket trading. American Airlines was up 3% and United Airlines was up more than 2%.

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