Just because bad news is expected doesn’t make it any easier to take, and that was the case for fans and supporters of Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA), which, on Tuesday, April 28, released its latest set of flight stats – the ugly numbers for March of 2020.

The April report will likely be even worse, but March was bad enough. Last month, the number of passengers using PTIA dropped off by more than half when compared to March of 2019. To be precise, the number was down a whopping 54.6 percent over March of last year.

As for the year-to-date passenger number, it was down 17 percent from the first three months of 2019.   The month of April, which has been all but a dead one for the passenger travel business, will likely push that number down further when those statistics come out in late May.

The drop-off is particularly disheartening since, for years leading up to the current pandemic, PTIA has shown a steady and impressive increase in the number of flyers choosing the airport.

The cargo flights at PTIA were also off, but not by as much. In March 2020, cargo flights were down 14 percent from March of 2019. Year to date, that number is down by just over 10 percent.

The monthly report usually predicts the number of flights and available seats for the coming months based on airline schedules – however, unlike past reports, this time airport officials didn’t even hazard a guess. In place of the number that’s always included in the monthly reports is the following statement: “Due to the daily schedule changes being made by the airlines, a seat/flight report for the month of June is not available at this time.”

While the airport passenger traffic and cargo numbers are dropping precipitously, the number of planes at PTIA has gone up a great deal. The airport has become a favorite place for airlines to park their unused planes – and those who drive by the airport can see an impressive long line of big aircraft all sitting in a row.