Air travel in Wisconsin returning to pre-pandemic levels

Dane County Regional Airport has seen traffic increase every month this year since the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available, officials said.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin airports are returning to pre-pandemic traffic levels as the busy holiday season gets underway.

Dane County Regional Airport has seen traffic increase every month this year since the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available, officials said.

According to Milwaukee County's Mitchell International Airport marketing coordinator Christie Green, the number of flights during Thanksgiving week is expect to be up 50% compared to last year, but down about 7% compared to the same week in 2019.

Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport director Marty Piette says the size of the airport means even on a busy day, travelers are unlikely to wait long at TSA checkpoints.

"We are in constant communication with our TSA stakeholders just to keep apprised of the situation," he said. "But from a staffing standpoint, we're going to be OK here."

Still, airport officials are encouraging travels to arrive early — at least two hours in Milwaukee and 90 minutes in Madison.

The federal Transportation Security Administration isn't expecting any major disruptions for holiday travel.

The Thanksgiving holiday coincides with the start of a vaccine requirement for federal airport security officers. TSA workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 22 unless the Biden administration honors a request from the American Federation of Government Employees asking to delay the deadline, Wisconsin Public Radio r eported.

In a letter to White House officials, the union cites a confusing "double standard" because federal contractors are not required to be vaccinated until early next year.

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