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By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. TransportationSecurity Administration (TSA) said on Friday it is launching aneffort to fill more than 6,000 jobs for airport screeningofficers, citing anticipated seasonal travel trends and progressin COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public.
U.S. passenger airline traffic fell 60.1% in 2020 to thelowest number since 1984 as the COVID-19 pandemic devastateddemand for air travel, the U.S. Transportation Department saidearlier this week. Major airlines say traffic remains down 60%,with international travel still down more than 70%.
Over the last seven days, the TSA has screened an average of913,000 air passengers a day, down from 2.25 million a day inthe same period last year.
The TSA said that in response to the pandemic response andlow passenger volumes, it deferred hiring actions for most of2020. It also offered voluntary early retirements last year, buta spokesman said that did not have significant impact on theneed to recruit.
Last month, TSA said it screened 500 million fewer people atU.S. airport checkpoints in 2020, down 61% from 2019.
The TSA screened 324 million passengers throughout itsairport security checkpoints in 2020, down from 824 million in2019.(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)