By Chloe Atkins and Reuters
The Transportation Security Administration said it screened over 2 million travelers on Friday at U.S. airport security checkpoints, making it the highest number since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic brought travel to an abrupt halt.
It was the first time daily U.S. airport passengers screened had topped 2 million since March 7, 2020, the agency said. “The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in Covid-19 countermeasures, to include ready access to vaccines,” said Darby LaJoye, the acting head of the TSA.
LaJoye recently issued a memo warning that 131 of the nation’s largest airports will face staffing shortages this month, and asked office workers to volunteer to assist with airport checkpoints, The Washington Post reported.
Amid the pandemic, the lowest screening volume was on April 13, 2020, when just almost 90,000 individuals were screened at airport security checkpoints. Prior, the TSA screened on average 2 to 2.5 million travelers a day.
Still, Friday’s uptick is just 74 percent of travel volume on the same day in 2019, when 2.7 million passengers were screened. U.S. air travel demand has been rising steadily for months as more Americans get vaccinated.
This article originally appeared on NBC News