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Don’t Be Misled By This Week’s Headlines. The Numbers DO NOT Signal A Comeback In Air Travel Demand

One million people – and more specifically 1,031,505 people – is a lot of people.

It’s enough to fill “The Big House,” the University of Michigan’s Michigan Stadium, 10 times over. It’s enough to fill the United Center in Chicago (the largest arena in the NBA) 51 times, or a big, 100-seat theater at your local multiplex more than 1,000 times.

But if we’re talking about airline passengers per day – and we are in this case– a million people “ain’t nuthin’,” as they say; certainly nothing to get excited about.

Yet the headlines the last couple of days screamed the news that 1,031,505 people – – passed through Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoints on Sunday. That marked the first time that more than a million people cleared TSA checkpoints in a single day since March 16.

That’s a good thing, one supposes, given the context of the exceptional decline in air travel demand this year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. After all, TSA checkpoint screenings tumbled all the way down to a measly low of 87,534 on April 14 (or just 4% of the 2.2 million people who passed through TSA checkpoint on same day in 2019).

But, by comparison with last year’s numbers, a million such screenings this past Sunday, while better than a poke in the eye, means demand remains down a staggering 60% from a year earlier, on Oct. 18, 2019.

Still worse, with the potential exception of a few holiday travel days around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, those airport screening totals are extremely unlikely to rise above the “down 50% from a year ago” comparison mark until sometime next summer, at the earliest.

In fact, it will be almost impossible for the number of travelers passing through TSA checkpoints to reach that 50%-of-last-year watermark over the next six to nine months – and maybe longer. That’s because U.S. airlines won’t even offer enough seats each day during that time span for travel demand to reach that high.

Four of the nation’s five largest airlines are offering well below 50% as many seats for sale this month as they did in October 2019 (and remember, on most days they don’t come close to filling even half of the deeply reduced number seats that they now are offering). Though they may have vague hopes of significantly increasing their capacity over the next six to nine months, all indicators are that such rebound is extremely unlikely to happen.

Only Southwest airlines still offers more than 50% as many seats now as it did a year ago. The fabled maverick discount carrier has grown up. It’s been in business 49 years now (and this year will

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Ferguson Parks & Recreation awarded much needed field refurbishments from Scotts and MLB | News Headlines

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Young ballplayers in north St. Louis County will soon be able to play on the field of their dreams thanks to a huge upgrade by The Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program, which works alongside Major League Baseball.

Each year they award modern, playable youth baseball and softball field refurbishments to local communities. Ferguson Parks & Recreation was one of only four community organizations in the country to receive the grant.

“For something good to happen in the community, it just helps lift everyone’s spirits involved,” said Ferguson Director of Parks & Recreation Dave Musgrave. “Over the past three, four years, the amenities offered there have kind of went downhill due to budget restraints.”

They came across The Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program earlier this year and applied for the grant. The panel involved in the selection process included Olympic Gold Medalist and MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch. They were so moved by Ferguson’s request for help that they chose them over nearly 500 other applicants.

“They were definitely of need,” said Finch. “It was so much fun to hop on a call with the youth of the community, just to see their faces light up and how excited they are to have a decent field now to go out and play on.”

The program provided products and services, with a value up to $50,000, renovating their existing ball fields with an infield makeover, and more enhancements such as new pitcher’s mound and home plate.

While they finished the renovations last month, due to the pandemic, they’re hoping to do a ribbon-cutting for the fields this coming spring, just in time for the baseball and softball season.

“It just brings more eye-appeal and it’s more encouraging for them to be able to participate in an environment that’s more appealing,” said Musgrave. “It gives them a little pride in the community I think.”

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