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Jet Fuel Demand Set To Recover As U.S. Air Travel Picks Up

The number of U.S. air travelers exceeded 1.5 million on Sunday, for the first time since the middle of March 2020, in a good sign for oil demand as U.S. citizens start to travel more, including by plane.

According to data from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as many as 1,543,115 travelers passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports this past Sunday, the highest number of travelers since March 13, 2020. The last time U.S. airline passenger numbers topped 1.5 million was on March 15, 2020, when 1,519,192 travelers were screened at American airports, just before flights began being grounded as mobility was restricted at the start of the pandemic.

The U.S. air traveler numbers have now been above 1 million for a 12th straight day to March 22, the TSA data showed.

“TSA screened 1,360,290 people at checkpoints yesterday, Monday, March 22, in spite of the fact that the @CDCgov does not recommend traveling at this time,” TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said on Tuesday.

The number of airline passengers is still below pre-COVID levels, with international travel still restricted for Americans in many countries. But the recent signs of higher passenger traffic at airports signal increased mobility and demand for fuels, including jet fuel that was the hardest hit in the pandemic.

Travel and consumption patterns in the world’s top oil consumer, the United States, and in the world’s top oil importer, China, point to recovering demand for petroleum products. Those two countries—major consumers of crude—could lead global oil demand out of the woods and lead the global consumption rebound later this year.

Moreover, U.S. gasoline demand has also been rising in recent weeks. Weekly U.S. gasoline demand in the week to March 20 reached pre-COVID level seasonally, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, tweeted on Sunday.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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