Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) is implementing a new program – “PTI Prepared” – to protect flyers and those who work at the airport from the spread of COVID-19.

Since the pandemic hit earlier this year, the number of passengers using PTIA has dropped like a rock; however, as society gradually opens back up, the number of passengers is expected to increase and this program is an attempt to allow more people to safely pass through the airport.

PTIA Director Kevin Baker stated in a Friday, May 8 press release that it’s not clear when passenger traffic will recover, but the airport will be ready.

“No one knows exactly what air travel will look like in the next two weeks, the next two months, or even the next two years,” Baker said. “Airports will need to be flexible and ready to respond to changing requirements and changing demands. The safety and well-being of our passengers, employees and airport partners is our top priority.”

The PTI Prepared program uses a slate of safety practices – like frequently cleaning and disinfecting key areas, posting rules regarding social distancing and offering “sanitizer stations” for those who pass through.

Some of the changes will be very evident. For instance, the airport plans to rearrange some furniture in waiting areas in order to create space between people.

There will also be new signs instructing everyone to engage in the same practices that have been drilled into the psyche of all Americans over the last two months. (Hint: Wash your hands frequently; keep your distance; don’t touch your face….)

The airport has created a special team of staff members to implement the new initiative.

“We know that we will need to continue to adapt to the changing environment as more passengers return to the airport,” Baker stated. “We know that we will need to be well-informed about the disease and the best ways to prevent its spread, and we know that we will need to communicate effectively with our passengers, our tenants and our staff.”

PTIA, like other airports around the world, has already made big changes in response to the pandemic. Facilities staff has been fogging the terminal with disinfecting spray and has installed spacing indicators in security lines as well as transparent plexiglass shields at information booths and rental car counters.  

PTIA is also instructing flyers and others at the airport to wear a face covering, and people dropping off or picking up passengers are discouraged from entering the terminal building and encouraged to stay in their cars. In this day and age, you don’t need to have any big, romantic, tearful goodbye kisses at the security line entrance. You can do that in your car, which will help cut down on PDA as well as COVID-19.

“We are putting protective measures in place in response to a public health issue that appears to be long-term,” Baker concluded. “This is unfamiliar territory for all of us. We intend to be prepared for whatever comes our way.”