A lot of people have gotten so used to virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic that it now seems strange to meet face to face.

However, strange or not, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority – a seven-member board that oversees the airport’s operations – has decided to go back to in-person meetings.

Like most other public bodies, the Airport Authority, which meets once a month, ceased getting together in-person when the pandemic began a year and four months ago.  The board – along with top airport staff – meets in a fairly small conference room in the terminal at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA). 

Since the start of the pandemic, the authority has held virtual meetings.  At the June meeting of the board, Airport Authority Chairman Paul Mengert announced that in-person meetings would resume. 

However, that won’t happen until September. 

The authority is on a longer timeline than some. Guilford County Board of Commissioners meetings, for instance, have been conducted in person for much of 2021, and those meetings have gradually been opening up – allowing more and more audience members as the pandemic recedes.

“I have talked to members and staff members about resuming out in-person meetings and, unless there is an objection to doing so, I’d like to propose that we begin our in-person meetings beginning with our September meeting,” Mengert told the group via Zoom at the authority’s June meeting. 

“I look forward to being back and I wanted to give everyone enough time and enough notice to get that on their calendars,” the chairman added.

The move didn’t require a vote, but Mengert said that he had spoken with members and staff, and there seemed to be a consensus that it was time to go back to face-to-face meetings.

The Airport Authority has had a tough job during the pandemic.  Early on, air travel in and out of the airport essentially ground to a halt, and that was followed by months of operating with major challenges. 

At the June meeting, however, there was a great deal of optimism among the upbeat authority members since air travelers are now coming back with a vengeance.