Local Air Travel Expected to Increase in 2021 as COVID-19 Vaccines Continue | Economic news
ROCKFORD – As travel begins to pick up and COVID-19 vaccinations continue to climb, Chicago-Rockford International Airport has seen a comeback from 2020 figures for passenger flights as operations freight forwarding continues to support job growth and industrial growth.
After a year that has seen reduced flights due to COVID-19 restrictions, Rockford Airport is once again seeing passenger numbers increase. Overall, passenger traffic ended the year down 32%, with the last quarter of 2020 down 18%, posting a modest and slow return.
“We’re starting to see more passengers at the airport and we’ve seen it this spring over Easter and over spring break,” said operations director Zack Oakley. “We’re not going over the 2019 numbers, which we use as a benchmark, but we’re starting to see a steady return to travel.
The drop in travel has been felt for airlines and airports of all sizes around the world, with US airlines experiencing a 50% contraction in traffic in 2020.
Passengers will still be required to wear masks and practice physical distancing online or at various stages of boarding, but Oakley said safety remains a top priority for staff and the public.
“The airlines have done really well because everything and everyone has adjusted,” Oakley said. “Without our dedicated staff, we wouldn’t have been able to get through the past 14 months as well as we have. I cannot say enough about all the employees across the airport campus.
Oakley said the airport was bracing for a “pent-up travel demand” as vaccinations continue and people look to take much-needed vacations.
Average domestic airline ticket prices over the three months ending September 2020 have fallen to the lowest inflation-adjusted price since the government began tracking prices in 1995, according to the US Department of Transportation. . The average ticket price was $ 245, down 30% from the same period in 2019 and 7% in the second quarter, when average prices were $ 262 per ticket, according to Reuters, citing the federal report.
The report shows that U.S. passenger airlines generated 65.1% of the $ 38.6 billion total operating revenue from passenger fares in the first nine months of last year, up from nearly 90% in the early 90.
Rockford Airport makes it easy to travel to Arizona, Florida and Nevada.
Employment growth at the airport is also booming, from 4,000 employees across the aerodrome campus in 2011 to over 8,000 employees this year. The increased job growth is anchored by commitments from UPS and Amazon that pushed freight traffic growth by 15% in 2020, with 2021 seeing even greater growth of 27%.
Amazon expanded in 2016 and UPS expanded in 2017, which helped drive job growth and attract additional businesses to the industrial side of airport operations.
“It’s about how to create the greatest impact for the region and how to be a constant point of economic development for the Rockford area,” Oakley said.
RFD is home to the second largest UPS hub in North America, which continues to increase its daily freight flights. The airport also serves other leaders in the air cargo industry, including ABX Air, ATI, Senator International, DB Schenker, National Airlines and Atlas Air. With recent airport freight expansions, Rockford is quickly becoming a Midwestern hub for e-commerce and international freight. “We are proud to be a catalyst for access and ease of freight movement for our region,” said Mike Dunn, Executive Director of RFD. “The constant improvements in infrastructure and new developments on our property will help us continue to achieve increased growth in employment and business opportunities.”