If you’re looking for a good sign that aviation officials expect air travel to get back to normal fairly soon, here it is: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it is looking to hire 6,000 more screening agents at airports across the country to help deal with an expected increase of fliers during the traditionally busy summer vacation season.
Air travel is still down about 50 percent compared to 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, as witnessed by the recent Presidents’ Day Weekend influx of travelers earlier this month, the pent-up demand to fly is there.
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The TSA said in a news release that it was expecting a seasonal increase in the number of air travelers in the coming months and that more people will be flying as COVID-19 vaccinations become more widespread, according to CNN.
More than 41 million people in the U.S. have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and more than 17 million have received both doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The TSA hopes to fill transportation security officers (TSOs) positions at about 430 airports.
“TSOs are a critical first line defense in securing our nation’s commercial air transportation system,” Melanie Harvey, acting executive assistant administrator for TSA’s Security Operations, said in a statement.
“Each day, our officers screen hundreds of thousands of airline travelers ensuring they arrive at their destinations safely. We expect to screen a higher number of travelers regularly by the summer months and will need additional officers to support our critical mission.”
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