PIT passenger numbers increased 90% for 2021 holiday season, still below 2019 average

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While still down from the 'normal' travel data from 2019, the return to air travel is looking hopeful from holiday travel data from 2021.
While still down from the 'normal' travel data from 2019, the return to air travel is looking hopeful from holiday travel data from 2021.

FINDLAY TWP. — After two years of a nationwide pandemic, airports are reporting a mix of highs and lows to their travel statistics for the 2021 holiday season.

According to the Pittsburgh International Airport, air travel saw a massive surge in its terminals from Dec. 18, 2021, to Jan. 2, 2022, for holiday travel. The number of passengers was a positive sign after an empty season in 2020 but remained significantly lower than data from 2019.

Overall, the airport saw only 160,000 passengers this holiday season, a 21% decrease from the amount of air travel seen in 2019 during the same period. While initially these figures may seem disappointing, the amount of travelers is up over 90% compared to 2020 and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A graph from the Transportation Security Administration  detailing the shifts in travelers going through airport checkpoints from 2019 to the start of 2022. The start of the decline begins in February of 2020, represented by the green line, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the United States.
A graph from the Transportation Security Administration detailing the shifts in travelers going through airport checkpoints from 2019 to the start of 2022. The start of the decline begins in February of 2020, represented by the green line, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the United States.

After compiling data from airports across the nation, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration reported that over 30 million people traveled by air this holiday season. This number is down 20% compared to the number of travelers in 2019, but once again an improvement to 2020, with other airports across the country seeing an average of 61% more passengers this season.

Travel experts say that the continued decrease in air travel was expected due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, especially due to the surge of cases from the Omicron variant. Leisure trips are still on the rise across the country, but the new variant was reported to be the cause of various cancellations for travel agents across the country.

This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: PIT says holiday travel up for 2021, but still below 2019 average

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