US braces for surge in domestic air travel in summer | Aviation News

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Bookings are on the rise and most airlines say the pace of the recovery in leisure travel has accelerated.

U.S. airlines and agencies are preparing to increase domestic air travel this summer, even as the government continues to debate whether to allow more foreign travelers to visit.

Shares of American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines were significantly higher on Tuesday after executives said the pace of the recovery in leisure travel was increasing.

“We have been very, very pleased with the pace of the demand recovery,” Delta President Glen Hauenstein said at an industry conference. “Reservations were better than expected.”

As more Americans pass through airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to hire an additional 1,000 agents by July 4, a peak period for travel to the United States, after hiring 3000 agents since January 1.

“We have already seen a big increase at airports across the country and will continue to see steady increases throughout the summer,” TSA Acting Administrator Darby LaJoye told a press conference. at Reagan National Airport, near Washington, DC.

The TSA screened 1.86 million passengers on Sunday, the highest daily total since March 2020.

United said it now expects its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be positive in the third quarter and has lowered its forecast for declining unit income in the current quarter.

And Americans are seeing “encouraging signs” in business and international travel, which has been hit hard during the pandemic, said CFO Derek Kerr.

The improvements come as more Americans are vaccinated, businesses prepare for workers to return to offices and travel, and more countries open their borders.

However, the United States continues to ban the entry of almost all non-US citizens from most countries in Europe, South Africa, India, China, Iran and Brazil, despite pressure from groups of travelers to lift restrictions.

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the press conference that the government “is following the facts, the data, the science to decide when business and international travel can really pick up … It’s something that we evaluate every day. “

The administration has held lengthy meetings on the matter, officials told Reuters, but made no decision.

Industry officials believe Biden could lift the restriction on the UK and Ireland as early as early June. Cases of COVID-19 in both countries have declined.

Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, told Reuters: “The UK is the most advanced. Our belief is that if we can open up the UK, the rest will follow. “



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