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Tucson airport holiday travel nears pre-pandemic levels

Tucson International Airport is getting ready to welcome tens of thousands of passengers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

More than 60,000 passengers are scheduled to travel through TIA between Nov. 23 and Nov. 29, which is an increase of at least 50% compared to 2020 traffic. 

That total is just shy of the pre-pandemic benchmark set in 2019.

"We are encouraged by so many passengers putting their trust in (TIA) to provide a friendly, convenient customer experience, said Tucson Airport Authority President Danette Bewley. "We will need continued support like this beyond the holidays to help us reach pre-pandemic travel levels, attract new nonstop destinations, and land prosperity in Southern Arizona."

While the aviation industry remains in recovery, TIA has been outperforming the national average. Seat capacity across the country is down 9 percent from Thanksgiving week 2019, but travel to the Tucson airport is only 3 percent shy of total passenger traffic two years ago.

The busiest days for the upcoming week are the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving, followed closely by the Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to the holiday. 

The Transportation Security Administration is prepared for the influx of travelers, however, passengers are encouraged to allow extra time at the airport around the holidays, especially those who have not traveled in a while.

The Tucson Airport Authority has invested more than half a million dollars since the COVID-19 pandemic began to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers, employees, and visitors.

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Thanksgiving air traffic to Tucson International Airport is returning to pre-pandemic levels but travelers are asked to allow for extra time for safety and security protocols.