Transportation and Security Administration officers screened just over 1 million passengers at airport security checkpoints nationwide on Tuesday, the lowest number since late April as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hinder the industry.
It marked the "lowest checkpoint volume since April 27, 2021, when 1,077,199 individuals came through security checkpoints," Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted.
Traffic across airports nationwide has steadily declined from the surge over the holidays as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to grip the nation. Omicron has quickly become the most dominant variant in the U.S., accounting for more than 99% of all new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recently, the TSA also tweeted a chart showing the passenger screening volumes over the past two weeks and how Monday's volume was slightly below the two-week average of just over 1.4 million people screened daily.
It comes as a blow to the industry that was dragged down by a COVID-19 surge in December, forcing carriers to cancel thousands of flights during its busiest season because employees were forced to call in sick.
With the pandemic continuing to disrupt air travel, the chief executives of some U.S. carriers fear more losses before travel rebounds.
For instance, Delta Air Lines predicted earlier this month that the carrier will suffer one more quarterly loss before travel picks up in spring and summer.
"I don’t think we’re going to see a pickup in bookings or travel during January and probably the first part of February," CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview. "It’s always the weakest part of the year, and it’s going to be that much weaker because of omicron. We need confidence in travel returning once the virus recedes."
Meanwhile, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, who is stepping down in March, said the current "volatility has created the most challenging planning environment in the history of commercial aviation."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.