Richmond International Airport sees traffic gains in February | Local business news
Passenger traffic at Richmond International Airport is poised to return to pre-pandemic levels.
The airport reported on Tuesday that passenger traffic in February stood at around 240,095 passengers, a recovery of 77.2% from the airport’s “best February passenger numbers” before the pandemic from of 2020 just before COVID-19 hit and devastated travel in the United States and around the world.
The airport reported Tuesday that 121,703 passengers left for fights in February, while 118,392 arrived on flights. Overall, this is an increase of nearly 134% from February 2021.
The airport has come close to fully recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic on several occasions over the past year, but that recovery has been delayed by the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus this fall and winter, as well as by weather conditions.
“Last summer, we averaged in our mid-80s [recovery] and we stayed within that general range through the end of the year,” said Troy Bell, a spokesman for Richmond International Airport. “We had a few months that hit around 92%.”
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“It was obvious that January was impacted by the omicron variant,” Bell said. “The recovery rate was around 68%. Also, we had a lot of cancellations. We had 329 cancellations in January,” due to the weather.
“March is looking better than February” in passenger numbers, Bell said.
The airport also reported an increase in mail volume of almost 52% in February, but an overall decrease of 12.9% for total cargo shipments. For the first eight months of this fiscal year, total cargo volume decreased by 8.7%. Bell said one reason for this could be that fewer people rely on product shipments from e-commerce orders now than during the height of the pandemic.
Flights from Richmond could be expected to increase this spring and summer after low-cost airline Breeze Airways announced earlier this month that it was adding non-stop flights from the airport. Richmond International to five US destinations that are not currently offered nonstop by any other airline that flies from the airport.
The flights, which are scheduled to begin May 19, will include Jacksonville, Fla.; San Francisco, California; Hartford, Connecticut; Las Vegas, Nevada, and Providence, RI
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