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‘We’re now just starting to see a rebound’; travelers on rise at El Paso International Airport

An airplane is seen in the sky after takeoff.
An airplane is seen in the sky after takeoff.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- More Americans are ready to travel this summer. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports U.S. airlines carried almost 10% more passengers in March this year than a year earlier.

"We're now just starting to see a rebound," said Tony Nevarez, Assistant Director of Aviation at the El Paso International Airport. "I think people are getting a little more comfortable flying."

The CDC recently updated guidelines for travelers who have been fully vaccinated, noting they do not have to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it.

The El Paso International Airport has implemented new cleaning procedures too.

"A lot of the stuff is now just ingrained," Nevarez said.

The facility is using UV lights to disinfect large areas, while custodial staff disinfects high-touch surfaces.

"We're just going to keep doing that," Nevarez said. "There's no reason to discontinue because a lot of these pathogens you could include flu and cold viruses."

CDC guidelines on face coverings won't apply to airports and planes. The TSA's mask mandate is still in effect, meaning travelers will need to wear masks in airport and on board a flight, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

"All travelers are still required to wear a mask," Nevarez said. "The social distancing is recommended, but it's not enforced."

Nevarez said he understands that some people are still afraid to travel, but hopes El Pasoans understand precautions are in place.

"We're doing everything we can to keep the airport clean from the moment you step out of your car to the moment you board the plane," he said.

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.


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