The surge in coronavirus cases driven by the omicron variant continues to hinder the already battered airline industry, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
This week, the TSA said that just under 1.5 million people on average were screened at airport security checkpoints nationwide each day over the past two weeks. In 2020, the 14-day average was nearly 2 million.
This comes just after a bustling holiday season which was projected to near or even exceed pre-pandemic levels due to an increase in vaccination rates.
In December, AAA projected that travel during the 2021 holiday period would "rebound significantly" from 2020 with 109.5 million people traveling, a 33.9% increase. AAA also projected that 6.4 million of those travelers would be flying, a 184% increase from 2020.
On Dec. 22, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted that the number of people passing through security checkpoints nationwide surpassed 2 million and outpaced pre-pandemic levels. On Dec. 22, 2019, the daily checkpoint volume was just over 1.9 million.
However, since the holiday season, volume at airports has been slowly falling under that 2 million mark.
Earlier this month, on Jan. 11, only about 1.1 million passengers were screened nationwide, which was the lowest checkpoint volume since April 2021 "when there was a string of days with volume hovering slightly above the 1 million mark," Farbstein tweeted.
The figures indicate that travelers may be becoming more cautious once again as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads throughout the U.S.
Currently, omicron accounts for more than 99% of new COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of Jan. 12, the seven-day average of new daily cases was 782,766, an increase of 33.2% from the prior week, according to the CDC.