HOUSTON (KIAH) — Holiday travel saw a major downturn because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Houston Airport System leaders believe the number of people flying over Thanksgiving this year will exceed levels seen even before “coronavirus” became part of the vernacular.

“We’re surpassing pre-pandemic levels,” HAS Director of Communications Augusto Bernal said. “That’s according to our projections of passenger traffic. So it’s going to be very exciting.”

Bernal says more than 2.3 million people will fly in and out of Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport for the 13-day Thanksgiving holiday travel period that began November 17 and ends November 29.

Wednesday will likely be the busiest day for the airports with an estimated 45,000 travelers at Hobby and 140,000 at Bush.

“We’re also ready to receive this large crowd of people that are looking to have that vacation during Thanksgiving,” Bernal said.