Orlando Airport Crowds Forecast To Exceed Pre-Pandemic Pack

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, file photo, a masked family walks past Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Walt Disney World is tweaking its face mask policy. Starting Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, the theme park resort in Florida will allow visitors to chose whether or not to wear face coverings in outdoor lines, outdoor theatres and outdoor attractions. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, file photo, a masked family walks past Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Walt Disney World is tweaking its face mask policy. Starting Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, the theme park resort in Florida will allow visitors to chose whether or not to wear face coverings in outdoor lines, outdoor theatres and outdoor attractions. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Traffic at Florida's busiest airport this holiday weekend is forecast to exceed pre-pandemic crowds.

Officials at Orlando International Airport said Wednesday that this Labor Day weekend they are expecting more than 303,000 departures, a 7% increase above Labor Day weekend in 2019.

If it pans out, that forecast will be more than double what the Orlando airport experienced during the Labor Day weekend travel period last year.

The official holiday travel period starts Thursday and ends next Tuesday.

The busiest travel day of the holiday weekend is expected to be on Saturday when Orlando International Airport is forecast to have more than 53,000 departures.

Before the pandemic started in the U.S. in March 2020, the theme park mecca was the most visited place in the U.S., with 76 million visitors in 2019. That figure fell to 35.3 million visitors last year.

“This holiday it appears many travelers are soaking in the last bit of summer by taking a trip to Orlando," the airport said in a statement.