Airlines and TSA report 96% drop in air travel as coronavirus pandemic continues

The number of people traveling by plane has dropped by about 96% amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple metrics.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 6:52 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2020 7:06 PM

The number of people traveling by plane has dropped by about 96% amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple metrics.

On Wednesday, Transportation Security Administration officers screened just shy of 95,000 people at airport checkpoints, a dramatic drop from the 2.3 million who passed through on the equivalent day in 2019. The numbers are at a 10-year low, according to the agency.

The drop in passengers and orders across much of the country to stay at home have caused airlines to cut 71% of their capacity, according to Airlines for America, an industry group that represents carriers such as American, Delta, Southwest and United.

Only about one in every 10 seats on the US domestic planes that do fly are occupied, the group says.

On the limited number of international flights that are operating, about one in five seats are occupied, it says.

With fewer flights, airlines need fewer planes. US airlines currently have about 1,800 planes, or 1,500 more than in December, parked, representing about 30% of the fleet.

The stark numbers are similar worldwide.

At the beginning of the year, about 111,000 commercial flights were operated daily, according to Airlines for America. In the most recent week, it said there were only 31,000 flights.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents nearly 300 airlines worldwide, says it expects airlines to burn through $60 billion in cash this quarter. The largest slide of that will be in refunds owed to customers, it said.

US regulators recently directed airlines under their auspices to refund customers in cash, rather than credit, after it reported a spike in customer complaints.

The passenger airlines are also currently awaiting their first payments from a $25 billion federal fund meant to help them meet payroll. They are also awaiting details on how to apply for another $25 billion in loans.

Several US regional airlines have been forced to suspend operations or close because of the dramatic drop in bookings.

RELATED: JetBlue to consolidate number of airports it serves

The Federal Aviation Administration says employees at 38 of its air traffic control facilities have tested positive for the virus, prompting altered operations and cleanings. Most recently, it said employees in Orlando and Newark tested positive.

At TSA checkpoints, officers now wear masks and -- in some cases -- face shields. The agency says 327 employees have tested positive for the virus and two have died. The agency has closed some checkpoints due to inadequate staffing, according to an aviation official familiar with the matter. Airlines have also seen employees fall ill; about 100 American Airlines flight attendants have contracted Covid-19, according to their union.

TSA employees at the Dulles airport outside Washington, DC, also created a food pantry for their colleagues in the aviation world.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
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Johnson3105128
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Cass224022
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
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Guernsey3218
Pike3000
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Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
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Harrison803
Morgan780
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