The reach of the coronavirus is being felt everywhere and Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) is certainly one of those places.
On Monday, March 16, PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said that, though he’s still waiting to see the hard numbers reflecting the exact decline in passenger traffic, he knows without seeing them that the airport has seen a “very significant drop.”
“Planes are definitely still flying,” he said, “but far less full.”
Baker said he expects to get flight and passenger statistics for the month of February this week, and he added that right now he can’t quantify the extent to which passenger traffic has fallen.
The current numbers for March will no doubt reflect an even more severe drop off than the February numbers because, during February, many people were going about their business as usual. However, now, virtually everything in society, including travel, has shut down to an astonishing degree.
On Monday, the national airline advocacy group, Airlines for America, stated in a press release that carriers have “seen a dramatic decline in demand, which is getting worse by the day.”
The press release added, “Carriers have been forced to remove flights from their schedule and make historic capacity cuts. Cancelations are spiking, and for US carriers those cancelations are outpacing new bookings. The economic impact on US airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering. This crisis hit a previously robust, healthy industry at lightning speed and we remain concerned that the impacts of this crisis will continue to worsen.”
Two huge blows – one right after another for PTIA – were the travel ban that President Donald Trump put on Europe, and the delay of the High Point furniture market, which is an international affair.
“We have a significant Europe market,” Baker said,
The furniture market was scheduled to take place from Saturday, April 25 to Wednesday, April 29. The market has tentatively been postponed until June; however, on Monday, President Trump stated in an afternoon press conference that the crisis could last until July or August.