Airports gearing up for uptick and return to normal travel numbers for the holidays
MARYLAND – Christmas time is here, and travelers are everywhere as airports are loading up for the holiday season.
“Right now our load factors are above 95% so we’re clicking along really well,” says Chris Davidson, Assistant Manager at the Salisbury Regional Airport.
According to AAA, travel times, this year could look pretty familiar. “We’ve been seeing a lot of pint up demand and it’s translating to certainly higher travel volumes than last year and in some cases travel volume has been very close to pre-pandemic levels,” says Ragina Ali, Public and Government Affairs Manager at AAA.
AAA estimates more than 109 million Americans will travel over Christmas and New Year. Back in 2019, there were roughly 119 million travelers. Although Davidson says they’re excited to pick up again, AAA says, some airports may struggle to keep up with their current staff. “There are some staffing shortages across all industries and you may have to wait a little longer than you traditionally would,” says Ali.
The Salisbury Regional Airport is seeing some more good news that could help with that traveler increase. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award them $1,045,462, which will allow them to shore up some of the bigger projects they have planned for the next couple of years. “Which are runway extensions new firefighting facility and new maintenance facility that we sorely need here,” says Davidson.
Both AAA and the Davidson say, patience is appreciated this holiday season, as travelers deal with some extended wait times. “For us, we’re going to do what’s required and make sure everybody is safe,” says Davidson. He adds, “We just want to see the region grow and people return to normal and enjoy their lives.”
Ali with AAA also tells us, they’re noticing more people purchasing travelers insurance. She says with the pandemic, it might be a good idea to have backup plans in place this year and moving forward when it comes to traveling.
AAA also says, road travel is expected to increase as well so check your tires and your car battery before you hit the road.