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Airline shares rise as TSA numbers hit pandemic highs, backing assist for second bailouts

A sign reminding passengers to stay 6 feet apart can be seen at a checkpoint at Orlando International Airport.

Paul Hennessy | LightRocket | Getty Images

Airline stocks saw their largest one-day percentage gain in nearly a month on Monday after federal data showed air travel was at its highest volume in nearly five months and political support for more federal aid to the struggling sector rose.

The number of people passing through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at US airports rose for the second year in a row to 831,789 people on Sunday alone, the highest since March 17.

Despite the spike, TSA traffic is still about 70% down on the same period last year, meaning airlines are still a long way from recovering to normal levels, especially in the crucial midsummer season.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines stocks both rose more than 7% in the early afternoon, while United Airlines rose more than 8% and Southwest Airlines rose more than 4%. The S&P 500 was 0.2% higher.

Some analysts are concerned about what will happen to demand once the summer travel push wears off.

"So we remain cautious about the pace of recovery from here as we travel during off-peak hours this fall," Bank of America analyst Andrew Didora wrote in a statement released Monday.

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