Officials with the Des Moines International Airport are encouraging travelers to be prepared and be patient during what is expected to be a busy holiday travel weekend. According to a news release, nearly 27,000 people are expected to pass through the gates at the airport for the July 4 holiday, a 28.6% increase compared with the same weekend in 2019, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the steep declines in air travel that followed. The comparison to 2019 was to match the same number of days in the holiday travel weekend. In 2019, July 4 fell on a Thursday so this year’s data is also based on a Thursday through Monday travel period, officials said. The busiest travel day is expected to be Monday, July 4, when an estimated 5,800 travelers are forecast to pass through the airport. Kayla Kovarna, deputy director of communications, marketing and air service development at the airport, said passenger traffic at the airport has increased over the summer months, reaching 94% of pre-pandemic levels. According to the latest data on the airport’s website, 532,863 passengers have traveled through Des Moines this year through the month of May, a nearly 62% increase over the same period in 2021. The increase in travel is the result of more destinations and a pent-up demand for travel, Kovarna said. The airport serves 29 nonstop destinations, plus connecting flights to other destinations, she said. "Iowans are ready to travel, and we are excited to welcome so many people to the Des Moines International Airport this holiday weekend."