Air travel increases as more people get COVID-19 vaccine

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As more people continue to get vaccinated, it seems more people are traveling.

Thursday marked the third busiest day since the pandemic began with the TSA screening nearly 1.3 million passengers.

COVID-19 case numbers are decreasing and airport travel at the Philadelphia International Airport is increasing.

"Since this whole pandemic thing, this is my first time but I feel comfortable," said Rhonda Gibbons of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Last year, during the height of the pandemic, Philadelphia International Airport says travel was down 64%. With a vaccine rollout, it appears things are starting to turn around and more people are confident about flying.

"We are seeing lowering rates of infection with the coronavirus and increasing rates of vaccinations. So, that is wonderful for the travel industry," said Florence Brown, with the City of Philadelphia Division of Aviation.

The airport says there has been about a 15% increase in passengers from February to March. They credit the uptick to more shots in arms and people flocking to warmer destinations.

"We do understand that a return to 2019 passenger volume levels will not happen for another three to five years," said Brown.

Most passengers say with strict safety guidelines in place, they feel confident about flying and expect to see airports get even busier as more people get vaccinated.

"Being that we are going to Texas, you have to be extra careful because they are going against what we are doing here, but I feel pretty comfortable," said Gerard Brooks, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

"I am just going to pray about it. Safe way there and safe way back," said Denise Loatman of Deptford, New Jersey.

Officials say they expect to see more travelers for spring break and the summer months. Right now, employees are seeing a lot of flights booked to Florida and the Caribbean.
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