Coronavirus: TSA checkpoint travel numbers at U.S. airports 2019-2020

On July 1, 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 626,516 passengers at U.S. airports, compared with over 2.5 million passengers screened in the same weekday one year earlier.

Passenger aviation and the coronavirus

As a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, since the beginning of 2020 more and more countries across the globe shut down borders, thus cancelling all international flights to contain the spread of the virus. In April 2020, revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) declined by 98.4 percent on all international routes. Similarly, compared to the previous year, airlines decreased their capacity by roughly 90 percent in Europe during the second quarter of 2020. In short, the estimated loss caused by COVID-19 outbreak is at least over 98 billion U.S. dollars for the first half of 2020.

Airlines after the COVID-19

Before the COVID-19 paralyzed the world economy, countries and organizations were over-optimistic, even while the COVID-19 was emerging in China. Despite all efforts, COVID-19 became a deep-rooted health crisis that will presumably lead to a massive economic crisis. This may lead to permanent changes in the economic structure, for instance requiring a more resilient financial balance of airline groups. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, some of the largest airline groups had concerning financial balances. For example, American Airlines had a total debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) ratio equivalent to 4.04. When the coronavirus hit, those companies with the least sustainable financial balances were hit the worst. A similar pattern existed also for many European airline groups. Norwegian Airlines had enough liquid assets to sustain its fixed business costs covered only for 26 days. Therefore, companies with similar business model necessarily needed government support.

Daily number of passengers screened at TSA checkpoints in the United States from March 2019 to July 2020

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Release date

July 2020


United States

Survey time period

March 2019 to July 2020

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