By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
A packed parking lot at the Redmond Airport on Tuesday might be a sign the world is a little closer to getting back to normal.
This past weekend, TSA screened more than 1,300,000 people at airport checkpoints in one day nationwide. That’s the highest single-day number since March 2020.
“While that’s still down from what would be our normal passenger volumes, it shows that travel is recovering and we’re seeing that at the local level and the national level,” Lorie Danders, a spokeswoman with TSA, said.
Director Zachary Bass said the Redmond Airport saw around half of its normal passenger traffic throughout the past year.
But now, it’s ticking up to around 75% of pre-COVID numbers.
“Truthfully, I think customers want to fly again,” Bass said. “It’s been a long year and people want to get out and travel.”
This spring break will be a stark contrast to last March, when the airport went from around 4,000 passengers per day to around 300.
“We have seen a rebuild of our customer base and hopefully that just continues,” Bass said.
Marie Dodds with AAA agrees that people have a pent-up desire to travel. Increased vaccinations might also get more travelers out of the house this spring, she said.
“The one thing to keep in mind no matter how you travel is the CDC still recommends you avoid non-essential travel,” Dodds said. “If you make the personal decision to travel, you want to be sure you’re taking all the steps necessary to keep yourself, others safe.”
If people do decide to hit the road, we might see them here in Central Oregon.
“Whatever you would want to do, you can do it in Central Oregon,” Dodds said. “It’s always a top destination.”
But Dodds says the number one destination for spring break this year is Las Vegas, according to AAA research.