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Holiday air travel expected to be busiest on Thursday, next Friday and New Year’s Day: TSA

Holiday air travel is expected to be the busiest on Thursday, Friday, Dec. 29, and New Year’s Day, with more than 2.5 million passengers traveling each day, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) predicted.
The 2023 holiday travel season officially begins Thursday and the TSA announced it is prepared for more passengers and busier airport security checkpoints than last year. The expected more than 2.5 million passengers on each of this year’s busiest days is a 6 percent increase from 2022. TSA screened 2.4 million passengers on Dec. 29, 2022, for its busiest day that year.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he is feeling optimistic about the upcoming holiday travel period after last year’s Southwest Airlines meltdown that left millions of passengers stranded.
“I don’t want to jinx us, but so far 2023 has seen the lowest cancellation rate in the last five years,” Buttigieg said Tuesday, adding that winter weather “will certainly be a challenge in the next few weeks.”
The TSA announced it screened nearly 30 million passengers in 12 days over the Thanksgiving holiday last month. Nov. 26 broke the record for most passengers in one day, with more than 2.9 million people going through security checkpoints across the country.
The agency advised passengers flying in the coming days to arrive early and to ensure gifts are unwrapped and can be inspected if needed.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said employees are prepared for the busy passenger volumes.
“TSA’s continued success during this record year for travel is a direct result of teamwork, planning and professional execution across the agency, from our frontline employees to those behind the scenes; partnership with airports and air carriers and innovative checkpoint technologies that improve security effectiveness, efficiency and the passenger experience,” Pekoske said in a statement.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it is creating more air traffic routes, particularly along the East Coast, to help keep planes moving over the holidays. The FAA has been blamed by airlines for delays over the past year due to a shortage of air traffic controllers, The Associated Press reported.
With travel returning to pre-pandemic levels at a quicker pace than expected, airlines have hired thousands of employees to avoid repeating cancelations and delays seen as a result of staffing issues last year, the AP noted.

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