By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Biden administration’s vaccine crusade is paying off for the airline industry.

In tourism-dependent South Florida, where 90 percent of visitors come through our airports, the news is encouraging.

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“About three weeks ago, for the first time since the pandemic began, one and a half million Americana got on an airplane in a single day and that has happened five times since then,” said Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Over the past month, Miami International Airport has seen about 70 percent of travelers they had compared to pre-pandemic, according to AAA.

“The level of optimism that has increased over the past couple of months is something we have not seen in so long,” said AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady.

A AAA survey found 62 percent percent of Floridians will travel this year, 30 percent before June. Forty-six percent said they were comfortable traveling after being vaccinated, while 42 percent indicated they were comfortable flying post-vaccination.

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“For a lot of Americans, it’s ‘travel right now. I have been vaccinated, I’m ready to go,” said Keyes.

The Centers for Disease Control has said people who have been fully vaccinated can travel without being tested or quarantining. Meanwhile, the airlines have stressed safety with air filters and strict on-board protocols.

So who is booking in big numbers? Keyes said senior citizens and baby boomers who got vaccinations early on.

“They started booking flights and traveling. You can see the age differential. Where for Gen X and millennials the numbers are staying flat, for senior citizens and baby boomers it is really taking off,” said Keyes.

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So where are those senior citizens and baby boomers going? Mostly beach destinations and national parks out west.