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Global air travel shows first growth in 8 weeks

April 30, 2020
3 min read
Global air travel shows first growth in 8 weeks
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Global air passenger traffic may have hit rock bottom and be on the way to recovery, even if it’s an incredibly modest one.

That’s according to new data from flight-data firm Cirium, which reported that the number of schedule passenger flights operating on Wednesday, April 28, was 4% higher than the previous Wednesday (April 21).

If 4% sounds like a small bounce, it is. But it marks the first time that Cirium has tracked a daily week-over-week increase in scheduled passenger flights since March 5, a span of more than eight weeks. Early March was about the time that the expanding coronavirus pandemic began to decimate flight schedules in North America and Europe after already doing the same to schedules across much of Asia.

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However, for those looking for signs of a rebound, the slight week-over-week flight increase Cirium recorded for April provides a glimmer of hope that some sort of recovery might finally be taking hold.

This graph shows Cirium data for scheduled passenger flights in 2020. (Image courtesy of Cirium)

Even in the U.S., there have been cautious signs that the bottom may have been passed, even though passenger counts remain shockingly low. On Thursday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration screened just 119,629 people at its checkpoints – a figure that’s 95% lower than what it screened on the same day in 2019.

But, the count also has shown a continued upward trend since the TSA screened an all-time low of 87,534 people on April 14. The agency’s daily screening numbers remained between 90,000 and 105,000 for much of the next week before jumping to 111,627 on April 23.

The daily numbers have continued to trend up since. On Thursday (April 29), the number of screen travelers hit the six-figure mark (119,629) for the seventh consecutive day – a feat that hadn’t occurred since April 6.

More: 7 ways coronavirus could forever change the way we travel

Whether the trend continues remains to be seen. The overall numbers remain bleak: Even with the uptick on April 28, Cirium's data shows scheduled flights remain down 40% since the beginning of the year. And the number of travelers being screen by the TSA remain incredibly small.

Still, the latest trends from each of those sources offer a hopeful sign for those hoping that “rock bottom” may have already occurred.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases