It used to be that members of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority wanted to see year over year gains in passenger numbers at Piedmont Triad International Airport, but these days they would be ecstatic just to see those numbers hit 2019 levels once again.

 Passenger traffic was one topic of conversation when the Airport Authority met virtually for just over an hour on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

In spring and early summer of 2021, there was a feeling among airport officials that passenger numbers were taking off well again – however, the new wave of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is clearly not helping.

At this week’s August meeting of the Airport Authority, year-to-date statistics and stats for the month of July were presented.

The number of passengers flying in and out of PTIA in July was up 192 percent over July 2020 and up 20 percent year to date. Those numbers might look good in some years, but since 2020 was an utterly disastrous year for passenger traffic at PTIA as well as globally, those numbers don’t tell you much.

Perhaps a more informative figure from airport officials is that passenger traffic for July 2021 versus July 2019 was down 27 percent.  So, the airport still has quite a ways to go just to get back to even 2019 passenger numbers.

The amount of cargo coming into and flying out of PTIA was more encouraging.  That number was up 100 percent in July 2021 over July 2020 and up 78 percent year-to-date. Cargo for July 2021 versus 2019 was up 37 percent.

People don’t fly a lot during pandemics but they sure do order a lot of products that need to be shipped.