Dayton Airport passenger traffic bests 2020 so far by 52%

Through October 2021, Dayton International Airport has seen 438,732 passenger enplanements so far, a 52% improvement over the 287,643 passengers enplaned at the same point in 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic devastated domestic air travel.

But those numbers need some perspective. Even those improved passenger counts remain well below a more normal year for air travel. Through October 2019, for example, the airport counted 745,725 passenger enplanements, a 1.8% drop from the 757,786 passengers counted through October 2018.

By that reckoning, enplanements in the most recent October are about 41% less than October 2019′s numbers.

The through-October 2019 enplanement number compared to the same point in 2020 represented a 61% decrease.

For the month of October alone, the airport is seeing an 86% improvement, 53,471 enplanements this year compared to 28,805 last October.

“We’re certainly doing a lot better than last year. I don’t know if anything could be worse than last year,” said Linda Hughes, a spokeswoman for the airport.

For the Thanksgiving travel period, from last Wednesday through Monday, seats flying from the airport should be about 95% full, she said.

“2019 levels, we’ll be lucky if we get there by 2023,” Adam Pilarski, senior vice president with Chantilly, Virginia-based aviation consulting firm Avitas Inc., told the Dayton Daily News.

COVID-19 is still very much a factor when it comes to air travel. “My belief is, it’s going to take time.”

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Friday, Nov. 19, was the single busiest air travel day nationwide since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, as it screened 2.24 million travelers.

The TSA expected to screen about 20 million air passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, compared with nearly 26 million in the same time period in 2019, Reuters News Service reported.

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