US Passenger Numbers Reach Highest Number Since 2019

The United States TSA announced that on Friday, June 16, it had screened the highest number of passengers since before the COVID-19 pandemic.



June 22, 2023

DALLAS - The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that on Friday, June 16, it had screened 2.785 million airline passengers. This is the highest number of passengers since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the Juneteenth holiday, the TSA screened around 10.6 million people from Friday through Monday. This is an average of 2.67 million people each day. 

Over the long weekend, airlines reported few cancellations. June 16 was the fourth-highest single day for screening ever and the highest since November 2019. Airlines for America estimates that a record 256.8 million people will fly during the summer season (June through August). This is up 1% from the 254.6 million passenger airline carriers in the same period in 2019.

Capacity Cuts

With that said, airlines have already cut almost 10% of scheduled flights in the spring due to performance issues and are operating larger planes on routes to make up for the trimmed schedule. Airlines have cut flights in congested cities such as New York airspace to smooth operations. Although airlines had many cancellations in 2022 at some points, it has improved dramatically in 2023 through April, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

In March, the FAA gave airlines a period waiver to file requests for slots they wanted to give up voluntarily at congested airports to avoid repeating last year’s mass disruptions. Last year, the US aviation industry suffered from staff shortages in different areas, including airport personnel, traffic control, and airline personnel. The lack of required staff forced airlines to cut capacity, which was overwhelmed by the increased passenger demand for air travel. 

In 2023, capacity from airlines and airports will be improving. The FAA believes there is a need for more air traffic controllers, specifically at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility. This affects New York LaGuardia Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Last summer, air traffic control staffing was a factor in delays of 41,498 flights from New York airports, according to the FAA.

Featured Image: N838AW American Airlines Airbus A319 LAX/KLAX (America West Heritage Livery). Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways.