Roanoke-Blacksburg Airport sees 90 percent drop in May 2020 passenger traffic compared to May 2019


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) announced Tuesday morning a continuous decline in passenger traffic amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with May 2020 traffic down by 90 percent on a year over year basis.

According to the airport’s announcement on Tuesday, June 30, ROA saw 6,387 passengers in May 2020, which is 90 percent less than the 65,026 passengers served in May 2019. To break that down, the airport says the total month’s loss of 58,639 passengers is approximately 1,891 less passengers flying per day in May.

In addition, 2020’s year-to-date data for May was down 50 percent, dropping from 280,099 passengers at the same time last year to 139,573 passengers this year, according to ROA.

This 90 percent drop in May’s passenger traffic follows a 97 percent drop in April and a 51 percent drop in March on a year over year basis.

“The decrease in airline operations and passenger traffic this spring was not unexpected due to the pandemic,” said Timothy T. Bradshaw, A.A.E., executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission. “We hope to see passenger numbers continue to gradually increase over the summer and into fall if the threat is diminished. The airlines have changed their schedules considerably and eliminated flights from airports across the country. As airlines rebuild their schedules for the new demand environment, it is critical to use our air service to keep it and help our economy grow. 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 Tuesday’s news release. “The commission sincerely thanks our customers for choosing to fly ROA.”

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