NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk International Airport had its busiest week since the pandemic hit, with more than 35,000 passengers departing from the airport.
"From April to May, we saw a 24% increase," said Steve Sterling, the deputy executive director of the Norfolk Airport Authority.
The airport has seen a 536% increase from May 2020 to May 2021.
"What we are seeing is travel demand is up and returning, and airlines are responding to that by adding capacity to this market," Sterling said.
Airlines at Norfolk International are now offering up to 34 destinations, compared to only 18 that were offered in January.
But some airlines are having a hard time keeping up with demand. American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights this week.
Here's how it's impacting Norfolk.
"It's impacted an afternoon flight to Dallas, but for the most part, American is still fulfilling their schedule here in Norfolk," Sterling said.
But with more travelers comes more challenges.
"We are seeing an increase in firearms at the checkpoint - not only here at Norfolk, but that’s nationally," Sterling said.
He encourages passengers to pack from an empty bag to ensure no firearms are in the bag.
Passengers say they feel safer flying now that they’ve received their COVID-19 vaccines.
"It’s been about a year since we’ve flown. There’s so much uncertainty going on with the pandemic, and we just wanted to make sure we were being smart about it, honestly," one passenger said.
Janae Fisher hasn’t traveled in two years and recently got her vaccine.
"A big thing was the COVID and everything. I do feel safer." Fisher said.
Sterling says the airport expects the travel trend to continue into summer.