Air travel has been down significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Half a billion fewer travelers flew out of U.S. airports in 2020 compared to 2019, according to throughput data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). That translates to a whopping 61% fewer passengers screened at U.S. airports last year compared to the year before.

But there’s one sure sign the agency is expecting air travel to turn around soon.

The TSA is hiring thousands of airport screening officers by the summer, according to a news release. The agency is launching a nationwide recruitment effort to fill over 6,000 Transportation Security Officer (TSO) positions at 430 airports around the country “based on anticipated seasonal travel trends in the months ahead and the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public.”

The Biden administration is on track to surpass its goal of 100 million U.S. vaccinations by the end of April, according to the vaccine tracker from the Brown School of Public Health. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and an advisor to the White House, told CNN last week he believed that by the end of June, vaccine production will be increased to a level that it would be widely available to the general public.

“Each day, our officers screen hundreds of thousands of airline travelers ensuring they arrive at their destinations safely,” said Melanie Harvey, acting Executive Assistant Administrator for TSA’s Security Operations. “We expect to screen a higher number of travelers regularly by the summer months and will need additional officers to support our critical mission.”

The hiring effort includes targeted recruitment and virtual job fairs, with full-time and part-time opportunities available, according to the statement.

Benefits include access to medical coverage, vacation, and sick leave, and retirement plans. TSA is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment and encourages individuals of all backgrounds to apply, including military veterans and persons with disabilities. To view open positions for TSOs around the country, visit TSA.gov/TSO.

“TSOs are a critical first-line defense in securing our nation’s commercial air transportation system,” said Harvey.