Tue. Nov 24th, 2020
monthly-passenger-traffic-triples-at-john-wayne-airport-in-may,-but-still-way-off-course

Some 82,000 passengers passed through John Wayne Airport in May, more than triple the number for April, but still off 90% from a year ago.

The airport’s traffic is recovering with more people returning to fly as more businesses reopen and states transition to “the new normal.” But the airport is still seeing far fewer passengers than a year ago, when more than 940,000 had traveled through the airport in May 2019.

The airport’s monthly passenger traffic dropped as low as 25,313 in April, when governors across the country issued stay-at-home orders to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of general aviation flights – which includes personal and hobby planes such as Cessnas, as well as private and business jets – dropped by 14.5% in May compared to a year ago. But the number of commercial and commuter flights plunged by more than 70%. Overall, the number of take-offs and landings dropped to 17,352, a 34.5% decrease compared to a year ago.

The top three airlines based on passenger count were Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

As states continue their reopening process, the airport is looking forward to seeing more people travel through the air, airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson said. “We are encouraged that May looks better than April, and we expect June to look better than May.”

The airport has increased how often its staff sanitizes high-touch areas such as railings, she said. Staff is also installing protective barriers at front desks and encouraging physical distancing through decals and other measures, she said.

Airport officials expect to use $45 million in federal aid from a coronavirus relief bill to pay for staff salaries and other operating expenses, she said. The airport hasn’t laid off anyone, she said.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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