April 2020 passenger traffic down 97 percent compared to April 2019 at Roanoke-Blacksburg Airport


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) announced Wednesday the airport saw a sharp decrease in passenger traffic, dropping approximately 51 percent for March and 97 percent for April on a year-over-year basis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release from the airport on Thursday, June 4, ROA accommodated 28,660 passengers in March 2020 versus 58,136 passengers in March 2019. The number of passengers dropped even farther in April, with 1,823 travelers flying via ROA in April 2020 versus 60,965 in April 2019, which means approximately 1,971 less travelers flew each day in April.

As for year-to-date data as of April, officials say ROA served 133,186 passengers in 2020 compared to 215,073 in 2019, which is a 38 percent drop in traffic. In addition, this decline in passenger traffic ended a 29-month streak of sustained passenger growth.

“The decrease in airline operations and passengers occurring this spring was not unexpected due to the pandemic,” says Timothy T. Bradshaw, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport
Commission. “We hope to see passenger numbers gradually increase over the summer and into fall as this threat is diminished. The airlines have changed their schedules considerably and eliminated flights from airports across the country. We are confident we will see strong growth in travel at a later time. We continue to appreciate the support of our community choosing to fly ROA and not driving out of market to fly.”

The airport says multiple factors have played a role in the decrease in both airline operations and travelers, including the spread of COVID-19, businesses eliminating travel, advisories to restrict non-essential travel, and stay-at-home orders.

“We are open and operational and if the public needs to fly and have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols in place, as do the airlines, to make it as safe as possible,” ROA stated in Thursday’s news release. “The commission sincerely thanks our customers for choosing to fly ROA.”

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