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American Airlines adding second flight from Tulsa to Los Angeles International Airport Aug. 17
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American Airlines adding second flight from Tulsa to Los Angeles International Airport Aug. 17

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A motorized vehicle passes a parked American Airlines jet at the Tech-Ops Tulsa maintenance facility last month in Tulsa.

Twice-a-day nonstop flights from Tulsa International Airport (TUL) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will begin Aug. 17.

The announcement comes as airline travel demand continues to grow with the number of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

Starting in mid-August, American Airlines passengers on the TUL-LAX flight will travel on a Bombardier CRJ-700, leaving at 7:35 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. daily and arriving in Los Angeles at 9:12 a.m. and 8:16 p.m., respectively.

Return flights from LAX are at 8:29 a.m. and 1:16 p.m. daily, arriving in TUL at 1:35 p.m. and 6:18 p.m., respectively.

Nationally, Americans set a record for pandemic-era air travel, then broke it again over the Mother’s Day holiday weekend.

Slightly more than 1.7 million people were screened at airport checkpoints Sunday, the highest number since March 2020, when travel was collapsing because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Sunday’s mark was about 4,500 more than the previous record, set just two days earlier.

Those crowds, however, still were far smaller than before the pandemic. Sunday’s TSA count was down 29% from the comparable Sunday two years ago, according to TSA.

TUL’s checkpoint numbers remained down 33% in April compared to 2019, airport spokesman Andrew Pierini said last week.

In March, the numbers were down 39% compared to pre-pandemic levels and in February, that drop was 54% (compared to 2020).

TUL’s checkpoint average has been roughly 10 percentage points better than the national average during the pandemic, Pierini said.

Air travel has been rising slowly for more than a year since hitting bottom in mid-April 2020. The numbers had leveled off recently, but with the busy weekend, the 7-day moving average of U.S. air travelers surpassed the period around the Easter holiday and also set a pandemic-era high.

Airlines say most of the people on flights now are leisure travelers going to destinations within the United States.

International travelers entering the U.S. are required to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said recently travelers can meet that requirement with federally approved home-testing kits, potentially making international travel a little easier.

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