By Amy Kawata

LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport officials say they are projecting to have the busiest travel days of the COVID era this week.

Thursday and Friday, March 25-26, are projected to be the busiest travel days since the pandemic began last March. For many travelers, it’s Spring Break.

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“Yeah, I’m excited,” Ayden Barr, a traveler, told WJZ. “Feeling good.”

“I was able to visit some family and see some friends I haven’t seen in a long time,” Perry Burnhart, another traveler, said.

The Maryland Health Department is encouraging travelers to get a COVID-19 test when they return from out-of-state travel.

BWI officials reported on March 13 as the last highest single-day count of security screenings in nearly a year at 18,382.

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“A year ago this time, we were down around 96%,” Ricky Smith, CEO and Executive Director of BWI Airport, said. “The last couple weeks or so, spring break, for example, traffic was down 50% in that range. So, we’re seeing a steady increase in traffic”

 

“The passengers that are flying are mostly leisure travelers,” Smith added. “They have this pent-up demand.”

Safety protocols in place are putting passengers at ease.

“Everyone’s wearing their mask, so I feel like everybody’s still being safe,” Burnhart said.

“Not as concerned as I have been,” Jeremy Barr, a traveler from southern Maryland, said. “The numbers being the lowest they have been.”

As vaccinations continue, the airline industry is projecting greater travel confidence as more people get comfortable boarding a plane once again.

Still, officials are reminding people to travel smartly.

“We’re encouraging passengers to be judicious about their decisions to fly,” Smith said. “Fly if it’s necessary, but if you have to fly, if you decide to fly, we’re ready for you, we’re prepared.”

The State Department of Health is still strongly encouraging travelers to get a COVID test when returning from out-of-state travel.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.