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Air travel has its busiest days in months heading into Memorial Day weekend

American Airlines 777's airplanes are parked at Tulsa International Airport Wednesday, March 25, 2020. American Airlines has 44 out of service airplanes parked at the airport due to a reduced flight schedule because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
American Airlines 777's airplanes are parked at Tulsa International Airport Wednesday, March 25, 2020. American Airlines has 44 out of service airplanes parked at the airport due to a reduced flight schedule because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP) (Tulsa World)

CNN – Americans took a small and cautious step to return to the skies this weekend, the start of the traditional summer travel season.

The TSA reported Saturday that it screened more passengers at US airports on Thursday and Friday than at any time in the last two months. It's only a modest improvement, but crucial for the turnaround chances for the battered US travel industry.

The number of travelers passing through airport screening hit 318,449 Thursday and 348,673 Friday, compared to more than 2.6 million passengers on each of the same days a year ago.

It was first time since March 23 that the TSA screened more than 300,000 people, and the first time since March 25 that the percentage of those screenings exceeded 10% of year-earlier figures. The lowest point occurred April 14 when fewer than 88,000 passing through screening, only 4% of the year-earlier level.