On Tuesday, March 28, Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) released its most recent set of stats – numbers that span until the end of February 2023; and those numbers show that the airport is making slow but steady progress toward its current goal: reaching and surpassing the pre-pandemic levels of passenger traffic.

According to stats released this week, the number of passengers using the airport increased by 9 percent in February 2023 over February 2022, and was up 16 percent year to date.

That’s promising, however, the new numbers for the start of 2023 still fall significantly short of those for the beginning of 2019 – before COVID-19 hit and devastated the airline industry.

When compared with February 2019, the number of passengers in February 2023 was 20 percent lower.

In other stats released this week, the number of passenger seats – filled or unfilled – scheduled for departure for April 2023, is 97,188. That’s 16 percent higher than April 2022. However, the number of scheduled departing seats is still down 19 percent compared with April 2019.

The “load factor” – that is, the average percentage of airplane seats departing from PTIA that had passengers in them – was 80 percent in December of 2022; and December’s load factor was 3 points higher than December 2021 and 1percentage point lower than December of 2019.

Soon after the pandemic hit, on some days, the number of passengers at PTIA was lower than the number of people working at the airport; however, during the pandemic, the amount of cargo coming in and out of the airport went up.

In the latest stats, cargo was down 29 percent in February 2023 compared with February 2022, and down 22 percent year to date.

Cargo in February 2023 versus February 2019 was down 2 percent.