More Passengers Are On The New York Subway Than Flying In The US

The New York Subway has seen higher passenger numbers than airlines departing from United States airports have seen combined. Despite the high number, both the TSA and the MTA have seen their passenger numbers recovering at similar rates.

Lufthansa, Bailout, Rejection worries
The aviation industry’s post-COVID recovery is continuing. Photo: Getty Images

The transport industry is now entering its fourth month of recovery, since the darkest days of the crisis in mid-April. While there is still a very long way to go until the industry has fully recovered, the numbers are showing a positive upwards trend across the world. Let us take a look at some of the numbers to see what’s happening.

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Aviation’s recovery vs. the New York Subway

We’ve been keeping a keen eye on the United States Transportation Security Administration’s daily figures showing the number of travelers passing through their checkpoints regularly. However, this is the first time that we’ve compared the data from two different industries.

TSA, Aviation Recovery, New York Metro
The TSA has consistently seen fewer passengers across the entire US than the New York Metro. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: TSA/MTA

FlightRadar24.com’s Jason Rabinowitz first spotted the trend and posted it to Twitter. Comparing the two side by side, it is clear to see that the New York Subway is typically handling many more passengers than airlines departing airports in the US.

The New York Metro saw just 199,696 passengers on its worst day, April 12th. Meanwhile, two days later, the TSA recorded its figure. Only 87,534 passengers passed through its checkpoints on April 14th.

The New York Metro experienced its best day since the recovery began on July 9th, hosting over 1.2 million passengers. However, for the TSA, the best day fell on July 2nd, with 764,761 passengers passing through checkpoints. Both the TSA and MTA are now seeing passenger numbers returning at a similar rate.

Airport security
The TSA screened only 87,534 passengers on April 14th. Photo: Getty Images

However, following the July 4th holiday, and with the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the US, there is a worry that the growth could be stunted once more.

What about the rest of the world?

So we’ve looked at what’s happening in the United States, however, what’s happening across the world in general as countries continue to end travel bans?

FlightAware yesterday released stats showing that China has so far experienced the most significant aviation industry recovery. As of July 12th, its number of daily commercial flights was down by just 28.44%. This compares to 67.35% and 48.74% in Europe and the United States, respectively. On a global scale, the number of daily flights being tracked by the service is still down by 55.85% compared to last year.

TSA, Aviation Recovery, New York Metro
Globally, traffic is still down 55.85% from last year. Graph: FlightAware

In general, it would be expected that these numbers continue to rise. We are at a critical point now where borders begin to reopen with travel bans relaxed. As such, it would be expected that demand should pick up, meaning more flights are needed.

Are you ready to set foot in an aircraft once more? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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