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Travel buzz: Norfolk International Airport seeing more people take off in March

Airports across the U.S. are seeing their busiest days since March 2020! Norfolk Int'l Airport is seeing that buzz too, but officials said recovery will take time.

NORFOLK, Va. — Things are looking up for the travel industry. Airports across the U.S. are seeing their busiest days since March 2020! For seven days straight, the number of people passing through TSA checkpoints has topped one million. 

Norfolk International Airport is seeing that buzz too.

On Thursday, 3,700 travelers boarded flights at ORF. Airport Authority officials said it’s the biggest ‘Thursday travel day' they’ve seen all pandemic long.

“This is my first time flying, I am going to ATL and I’m excited for it,” passenger Vernon Jones said.

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, more people are taking to the skies right now.

“We went to Mexico, Tulum,” Diondra Gray remarked. “We wanted to go somewhere that was going to be really warm, different than in the states."

Norfolk International Airport still saw a 55% passenger decrease for February 2021 compared to February 2020, but travel is picking up in March.

“We are seeing an increase in airline departure in the weeks ahead, which is an indicator of larger demand,” Norfolk Airport Authority Director of Market Development Charles Braden said.

Braden said March traffic should be 37% higher than February, as future travel bookings are going up.

“People who have been quarantined for the last year and haven’t had vacations are ready to get out and about,” Braden said. “Outdoor destinations are really popular.”

Braden said the Sunshine State is the most popular destination with heavy flights to Orlando, Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale.

“Last minute trip, felt like I needed to get away,” passenger Edith Cepavicius said. “Booked a trip, went to Florida.”

The CDC still recommends delaying travel. If you must, they suggest getting fully vaccinated, if eligible, and getting a COVID test before you go.

“'Vaxication' -- the idea that you get vaccinated, you can now go on vacation,” UVA Infectious Diseases Dr. Bill Petri said.

Dr. Petri believes those fully vaccinated can take off.

“If you are 10 to 14 days out from that final vaccination, you are very well protected, and it would be safe for you to travel,” Dr. Petri said.

But he said you should still wear a mask and social distance.

The pandemic isn’t over yet, and airport officials said safety is still a top priority. They provide masks to travelers and sanitize the airport all day long.

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