Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) – like airports across the country and the world – has been dealt a gigantic blow by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said recently that flyers are finally starting to come back and he expects gradual improvement over the rest of the year.

Baker made the remarks to the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority at the board’s June meeting when he presented the airport’s May 2020 flight stats.

He said the number of passengers using the airport was “a lot better than last month“ but he added that the April numbers were extremely poor numbers to be comparing things to.

“You remember last month we were down 97 and a half percent,” Baker told the Authority members who were gathered for a Zoom meeting.

The May stat wasn’t as bad as April, but still nothing to write home about.

“In May, passengers were down 92 percent,” Baker said. “That’s still pretty dismal. That puts us down about 52 percent year-to-date.”

He said January, February, and March were “ pretty normal months” before the bottom fell out of passenger traffic due to the global pandemic.

As for cargo flights in May 2020, those flights were down 45 percent at PTIA compared to the airport’s cargo traffic in May 2019.

In the past, airport reports have given flight and passenger projections for upcoming months; however, with the massive fluctuations in travel right now, airport officials have stopped making those predictions for the time being.

The new passenger report from PTIA states, “Due to ongoing airline schedule changes, projected flights and seats for August 2020 are not being reported here.”

“If I had to predict, it would be 70 to 80 percent in June,” Baker said of the expected decrease compared to the June numbers last year.

The airport will see those final numbers in mid-July.