Toward the end of every month, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority – the seven-member board that oversees Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) – gets together to carry out the business of the airport.
One part of that oversight involves hearing reports from staff on the number of passengers and the amount of cargo going in and out of the airport.
At the Tuesday, Nov. 28 Airport Authority meeting, the board members heard something they’ve been hearing for a couple of years now: Passenger traffic is increasing. However, it has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels.
This time around, the number of passengers flying in and out of PTIA in October of 2023 was up 15 percent over the number for October 2022 – and up 11 percent year to date.
Airport leaders always like to compare current stats to those of 2019 – since that was the last year before COVID-19 decimated the airport industry and took the passenger levels at PTIA down to under 100 on some days.
In the latest staff stats report, the number of passengers for October of 2023, versus October of 2019, was down 14 percent.
While it’s disappointing that the number of flyers using PTIA is still not what it was four years ago, the airport has been slowly closing the gap, and, earlier this year, PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said he expects 2024 to be the year PTIA finally serves more flyers than it did before the pandemic.
In other numbers in the report, the amount of cargo in and out of the airport was down 10 percent in October of 2023 compared to October of 2022 – and down 19 percent year to date.
Cargo for October 2023 versus the same month in 2019 was up 12 percent.
Among other numbers released at the meeting:
• The total number of departing seats scheduled for January 2024 is 87,081, which is nearly equal to the January 2023 number but down 20 percent from January of 2019.
• The “load factor” – that is, the average percentage of airplane seats departing from PTIA that had passengers in them – was 78 percent in August of 2023. That was 5 percentage points lower than August of 2022 and 2 points lower than August of 2019.