Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines, Inc. Report lead U.S. air carries higher Monday after data from the Transport Security Administration indicated the highest levels of passenger traffic since the start of the pandemic.
The TSA screened 2.45 million passengers on Sunday, the agency said, the most since February 2020. Across the entire holiday travel period, which the TSA defines as beginning on Friday November 19 and ending on Sunday evening, around 20 million passengers are expected to have travelled through U.S. airports.
The data will provide some comfort for investors following sharp declines for the airline and travel sector Friday following the discovery a new COVID variant, now named Omicron, originating in South Africa.
Cases thus far have been reported in Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warning Sunday that a U.S. infection case is 'inevitable".
Travel restrictions, thus far, have largely focused on South Africa, the origin of the new variant, and neighboring countries, with a U.S ban on entry from those nations set to begin later this evening.
"Travel bans, when you have a highly transmissible virus, never completely prevent it from coming into the country. No way that's going to happen," the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told ABC's 'This Week' program Sunday.
"But what you can do is you can delay it enough to get us better prepared. And that's the thing that people need to understand.,' he added. "If you're going to do the travel ban the way we've done now and that we're implementing right now, utilize the time that you're buying to fill in the gaps." Delta shares were marked 1.4% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $36.90 each, while United Airlines (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report bumped 1.4% higher to $42.85 each.
American Airlines (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report shares were marked 1.3% higher at $17.98 each while Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report gained 0.4% to indicate an opening bell price of $45.16 each.
This article originally appeared on The Street