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Record low of Americans expected to travel over Memorial Day weekend

HOUSTON – 2020 Memorial Day weekend travel at Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports is significantly different from past years.

“I’ve been here for Memorial Day, and this is nothing like Memorial Day,” said Walt Lowry.

Unlike the majority of those at the airport, Walt wasn’t traveling. He was welcoming his wife home.

However, 10-year-old Blake Shults was excited to take flight. After all, he and his family made their planned vacation a reality. He admits he was “pretty worried” their trip to Long Island, New York wasn’t going to materialize.

When asked where is everybody? Shults said: “Home like they should be.”

Every airport system in America is concerned over travel numbers plunging well over 90% during the pandemic.

Steve Hennigan, the Chief of Operations for the Houston Airport System, summed up the situation in one word: “slower.”

The numbers show it. In April of 2019, the Houston airport system had nearly five million passengers. A year later, only a smaller fraction of activity with about 242,000 passengers.

The lack of passengers means businesses are suffering and some are closing down. Meanwhile others are adjusting hours of operations.

However, the number of passengers nationwide are on the climb, KPRC 2 Investigates reported last week.

“It’s showing a good trend,” Hennigan said.

For the first time Thursday, in nearly 60 days, TSA domestic passenger numbers eclipsed 300,000.

A small milestone in the long journey ahead. Hennigan said traffic will continue to climb as the economy continues to open up.

“I think that as the restrictions are lifted and changed across the country that will go a long way towards people feeling more comfortable and traveling,” he said.