Earlier this week, the Airport Authority board that oversees Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) held its monthly meeting and, as is the board’s usual practice, released a host of stats that show how well the airport is doing in regard to passenger usage and the amount of cargo coming in and out of the airport.

Last week, PTI Executive Director Kevin Baker told the Rhino Times that he believed 2024 would be the year when the number of passengers flying in and out of PTI would finally surpass the number of passengers in the year 2018.

The ultimate goal is to get back to, and then surpass, pre-pandemic numbers; however, Baker said that was a high bar since 2019 was an unusual gangbuster year when it came to the number of people flying.

While getting back to pre-pandemic levels will take more time, the stats for April, released at this week’s Airport Authority meeting show steady progress.

The number of passengers flying in and out of PTI rose 11 percent in April of 2024 over April of 2023.  The number was up 13 percent year to date.

That upward trend looks to continue next month as well: Total scheduled departing seats for June this year are up 16 percent over June of last year.

The planes’ “Load Factor” – the average percentage of airplane seats departing from PTI with passengers in them – also improved. That was 75% in February of 2024, 6 points higher than in February 2023.  Those stats come out slower than other stats which is why more recent numbers weren’t released in that category.

While the passenger numbers continue to grow for our humble little airport wedged between giant airports in Charlotte and Raleigh, the amount of cargo coming in and out of the airport continued to drop.  Baker said recently that this was more a worldwide trend than anything specific to PTI.

In April of 2024, the amount of cargo coming in and out of PTI was down 28 percent when compared with April of 2023, and it’s currently down 28 percent year to date.