DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — As vaccines continue to roll out nation wide, and the travel mandate now lifted in Pennsylvania, could travel travel soon pick up again?
For almost a year now the travel industry has been struggling because of the global pandemic, but better days could soon be on the horizon.
“Lately on a weekly basis more and more people are starting to fly, last week was the busiest week we’ve had since October last Friday was the busiest we’ve had in more than a year," said Spokesperson for Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) Scott Miller.
In 2019 -- no one could imagine that a virus would soon turn the world upside down. On March 16, 2019 HIA had an estimated 1,975 departing passengers. One year later, on that same day in 2020, they had 1,277 departing passengers. It took a nose dive for them just days later on March 19th, 2020 -- with only 906 passengers leaving HIA.
“The mood was just unsure. I think we all thought this would take a few weeks maybe a month or two and maybe things would be back to normal.. obviously that hasn’t happened," explained Miller.
Numbers aren't even close to pre-pandemic days -- currently they're seeing almost 50% of where they were during their record year in 2019.
However, as we inch closer to spring, warmer weather, and people itching to visit friends and family traffic flow has started picking back up again at HIA.
"I think you’re going to start to see the booking window expand people are going to look into May and June booking having confidence we can go somewhere when schools out," Miller said.
As demand starts to increase, Miller explained that airlines will be slow at returning seats to markets because they've lost billions of dollars over the last year.
With seats starting to fill up, you can also expect to see ticket prices climb too he said.
But with a year if not more of limited to no travel -- many people are ready for take-off, and looking forward to visiting new places.
There will be more travel this year than last year, Miller said -- especially as more people feel comfortable with traveling again and vaccines get distributed.
“It's important to know what you need to do before you come to the airport, understand the rules and regulations, follow them, have respect for others, and you’ll be able to travel just fine this summer," explained Miller.
You can find more information about the airlines at HIA online.
Harrisburg International Airport has increased cleaning measures throughout the pandemic to ensure safety for travelers and employees:
- All passengers and employees are encouraged to wear face coverings whenever inside the airport
- Hand sanitizer stations and surface cleansing wipes are located throughout the terminal building for your use
- Polycarbonate barriers are being installed in all high traffic public interfaces areas
- Public areas including: airline ticket counters, gates, restrooms, bag claims, etc. are being electrostatically disinfected on a regular basis
- Surface areas and touch points are being disinfected multiple times each day
- Social distancing markers are being placed throughout the airport to remind us to give each other and respect each other’s space
- Face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment are now available in the airport should you leave anything at home
You can find more information about COVID-19 safety measures in place on their website.