(AbsoluteNews.com) – The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the travel industry in 2020. Travel plummeted as Americans and others around the world did their best to avoid the virus. In those early days, rigid travel restrictions were in place, and lockdowns made it hard to move around the country and throughout the globe. At the time, a vaccine was not yet available and medical facilities for treatment of the virus were not adequately equipped.
Fortunately, 2021 saw the travel industry come roaring back to life. Now, 2022 is upon us and the predictions are out.
The first part of 2021 started off slow. The vaccine roll-out was underway and millions of Americans were getting inoculated. On New Year’s Day 2021, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported only a little over 800,000 travelers went through their checkpoints compared to 2.3 million on January 1, 2020 (pre-pandemic).
Travel started picking up in March as 1.5 million people checked into airports throughout the country. By December, travel was back up almost to what it was pre-pandemic. On December 18 — the Saturday before Christmas — a little over 2 million went through TSA checkpoints compared to 2.4 million in 2019 before Americans had heard of the virus.
Airline mask mandates and other restrictions didn’t seem to stop the end-of-the-year air travel.
What Will 2022 Look Like?
TAC Analysis released its predictions for 2022 air travel. Experts believe airlines are going to focus on getting people back in the travel mode and filling seats — and travelers will likely see increased prices. In 2021, ticket fares remained relatively low as the airlines were trying to fill up flights and bring the industry back to life.
In the upcoming year, experts believe traffic will continue to increase to pre-pandemic levels and ticket prices will increase because it’ll be more difficult to get seats. In other words, supply and demand will lead to an increase in cost.
Cirium, another aviation firm, predicts 2022 will see a 47% growth in the number of seats occupied by travelers. Air travel could return to 2015 levels by the end of the following year.
Increased air travel isn’t just good news for the airline industry, it’s also good for cities across the country that depend on the income from tourism to survive. Companies have had a difficult time since the beginning of the pandemic and could see an increase in business in line with pre-pandemic levels. The economy, as a whole, will benefit if the predictions pan out.
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