22 September: US & Canada COVID-19 Aviation Traffic Report

Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 by Nick Benson
Topics: COVID-19

Well, we've passed Labor Day and the traditional end to the leisure travel season; year-over-year TSA screening volumes continue their modest upwards trend after a big bump for Labor Day; despite this, US-based passenger airlines are reducing the number of flights and they're operating.

We're now rapidly approaching the end of CARES Act protections here in the US at the end of the month, which have been preserving airline jobs. It will be interesting to see how COVID-19 cases respond to the resumption of in-person learning at many schools any universities, and how the airlines adjust their operations without a federal mandate controlling their network, schedule, or employee levels.

Passenger flight departures have decreased appreciably after being fairly steady since July; year-over-year TSA screening volumes have dropped after a bump at the end of the summer, though there's still a bit of an upwards trend.

For US-based passenger airlines, 1,090 fewer aircraft flew last week than in the first of March, a decrease of 21%.

Derived load factors based on TSA screenings and passenger airline departures. Settling around 60% as the number of flights decreases faster than passenger volumes.

A positive value here indicates growth in year-over-year TSA screening volumes; the sharp decline recently is partly to blame on a very strong Labor Day week.

Departures by Airline

Southwest in particular stands out as having a very sharp reduction in their flight operations - they've generally been pretty aggressive in how they respond to demand. Cargo airlines are still generally doing very well.

Departures by Airport

Fleet Evolution by Airline

Notable types operating fewer flights in recent weeks by airline:

  • Southwest 737-700
  • Delta 767-400
  • Delta 737-700
  • American 737-800
  • Spirit A319

Notable types operating more flights in recent weeks by airline:

  • American 777-200ER
  • United 777-200ER

Nick Benson

Nick lives in Burnsville, MN with his wife and three children. He grooves on railroad and aviation photography, geography, weather, and LEGO. A freelance web developer, he started JetTip's smart flight alert service in 2017. He can frequently be found atop a step ladder at MSP's Aircraft Viewing Area.