NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Officials with the Nashville International Airport said they saw 20 times more passengers this weekend than this time last year.

Inside the airport’s north terminal, there was a steady flow of passengers heading in and out on Monday. But inside the south terminal, where Southwest Airlines and American Airlines is located, the flow seems back to pre-pandemic numbers.

“I felt like I was here last time before the pandemic,” Michael Boccuti, who is flying back to Tampa, said.

That’s the trend BNA is seeing across the board. This weekend last year TSA screen 870 passengers in one day. This year, the airport screened 21,000 passengers on Sunday.

“Every row was full, and we were sitting next to people the whole time,” Kianoosh Jafari, who’s flying back to Arizona, said. “It was honestly like flying when there wasn’t a pandemic. You didn’t, they didn’t really change much besides having to wear masks.”

BNA officials said the increase is due to the COVID-19 vaccine and warmer weather. But they don’t expect to see the same high number of passengers as 2019 by the end of the year. They said numbers should get back to normal in 2022 and 2023.

“We flew in January and the plan was pretty much empty,” Boccuti said. “So, within a few months it made a huge difference.”

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation said while business travel is still low, weekend leisure travel is trending up. The past few weekends hotel capacity in Music City was at 77%.

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