Masks still needed, more travelers needed for McGhee Tyson Airport | New
McGhee Tyson Airport officials want visitors to know that masks are still required at the airport despite recent announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, McGhee President Patrick Wilson said on Wednesday.
Addressing the Knoxville Metropolitan Airport Authority’s board of commissioners at its first in-person meeting in over a year, Wilson pointed out that although the CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wearing masks or at social distance, this does not apply everywhere.
“To be more precise, it is always necessary for the public to wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transport, as well as in any transport (belonging) to the airport,” Wilson said.
“You can imagine there is a bit of confusion on the part of the public with this news coming out, but we try to continue to educate the public that these mask requirements are still a federal requirement at this point at airports. So we are still spreading this message. “
And that’s not the only way COVID-19 is still affecting the airport.
Wilson told commissioners McGhee Tyson saw “positive numbers” in March compared to March 2020, but fell short of that month’s numbers in 2019, a particularly strong year for the ‘airport.
“We continue to move in the right direction,” Wilson said. “Go up slowly, but things are moving in the right direction for us.”
Jim Evans, the airport’s vice president of marketing and air services development, told Wednesday’s meeting that McGhee Tyson last summer expected to have five carriers serving 28 non-stop markets.
But after the pandemic reached its peak, the airport lost nine of those markets “rapidly”, and of the remaining 19, “nearly all of them lost frequency.”
For example, Evans said, while McGhee Tyson would normally have had nine flights a day to Atlanta, he ultimately only had four to five.
“Since then, airlines have been slowly adding flights and putting points back on the map,” Evans said. “Usually these are low frequency and smaller planes.”
While leisure travel is “making a comeback,” said Evans, McGhee Tyson still hopes for a resurgence of business and international travelers, who are so crucial to its operation.
Complicating matters further is that airline schedules are subject to change as everything is reconfigured.
“Nothing is really set in stone at this point,” Evans said. “So if you are traveling this summer or fall, it’s not a given that your flight will work until you are at the airport and find out that it is leaving.”
In other Wednesday business, the airport marshals:
• Approved the purchase of services from Service One for $ 20,275 and Joseph Construction for $ 43,144 to rehabilitate the baggage make-up room.
• Approved a $ 115,672.50 contract with APAC-Atlantic for road improvements at Terminal Loop Drive and at the garage exit.
• Approval of several contract modification orders for the 5L / 23R runway reconstruction project.
• Approved a request from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for slope easements along Louisville Road.
• Approved the purchase of a property at 706 W. Hunt Road for an amount not to exceed $ 400,000 plus associated closing costs.
• Approved the award of a contract to Z Media Ventures for video production services.
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