First Time Since March TSA Screens Over 1 Million Passengers
22nd October 2020
Sunday, October 18 marks the first time since March 2020 that airport security nationwide has seen more than 1 million daily passengers.
In total, the Transportation Security Administration screened 1,031,505 travelers which is a new high but is still a number “well below” pre-pandemic volumes. During the same day last year, the TSA saw 2.6 million passengers which abruptly halted when global panic set in and slashed traveler numbers to a fraction of their normal levels in March. The lowest daily passenger volume this year was 87,534 passengers screened on April 14 — a 97 percent drop from the same day in 2019.
Globally, IATA has reported that there have been only 44 reported cases that may have been associated with a flight out of 1.2 billion travelers worldwide since the start of 2020. Even if 90% of the cases were un-reported, it would still be one case for every 2.7 million travelers.
A new study conducted for the Department of Defense also adds credence to the growing belief that airline passengers face minimal risk of contracting coronavirus while inflight.
The study found the risk of aerosol dispersion (transmission of the virus through the air) was reduced by 99.7% which can be attributed to high air exchange rates, HEPA-filtered recirculation and downward ventilation found on modern jets. In fact, the study found that contamination in the aircraft examined was less than what is found in private residences.
“The 767 and 777 both removed particulate 15 times faster than a home … and five to six times faster than recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms,” the study continued.
Tests were conducted by placing instruments that can measure particles in proximity to a simulated sick passenger. The study took masks into consideration, on the expectation passengers would be wearing surgical masks, the kind most likely to be handed out by the airlines if a passenger didn’t have one.
The study also concludes that overhead vents (on or off) does not make a significant impact on aerosol risk and could continue to be used primarily for traveler comfort.
For the traveler journey within the airports, the “TSA has been diligent in our efforts to ensure checkpoints are clean, safe and healthy for frontline workers and airline passengers, implementing new protocols and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that improve security and reduce physical contact,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a news release.
If you’re worried about crowded airports with the holidays approaching, some airports are doing more than just installing glass dividers and touchless technology. Denver International Airport (DEN) is piloting an optional TSA reservation app called VeriFly to ensure passengers proper social distancing. On the travel day, passengers will be asked to fill out a health questionnaire and complete a temperature check on arrival. Passengers are then able to reserve a 15-minute window to pass through designated TSA airport security lanes. It also ensures participating app-goers access to limited-capacity trains up 12 people per car to their appropriate airport terminals.
Ultimately, Aviation earns its reputation on safety with each and every flight. The above figures, critical research and new technology touchpoints are certainly reassuring and should give travelers the confidence they need to travel from point A to point B.Back to News