The Piedmont Triad Airport Authority finally resumed meeting in person on Tuesday, March 22 after a pandemic-caused string of Zoom meetings over the past two years.

Meeting in-person was a sign that things at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) are finally getting back to normal.

Each month when the board meets, it releases the airport’s passenger traffic statistics – and those numbers this month also tell a comforting story of things getting back to normal.

The numbers released at the March meeting are for February 2022, and one key positive stat was this one: The number of passengers flying in and out of PTIA was up 157 percent in February of 2022 over February of 2021.

That number, year to date, was up 141 percent.

While that was a terrific increase compared to 2021, airport officials like to compare new stats to the same month’s stats in 2019 – that is, to the stats before the pandemic hit and brought air travel across the world to a virtual halt.

Passengers for February of 2022 versus February of 2019 were down 27 percent.

The board is anxious to see that number get back up to its pre-pandemic level.

For a very long time, the amount of cargo coming in and out of PTIA has been solid – even when passenger traffic was very low.  The new stats showed the amount of cargo was up 14 percent in February of 2022 over February of 2021, and up 5 percent year to date.

The amount of cargo coming in and out of PTIA in 2022 has surpassed 2019 levels.  In February of 2022, it was up 38 percent when compared to the 2019 cargo numbers for the same month.

In another stat released Tuesday, the total departing seats on airlines scheduled from PTIA in April of 2022 is 84,159, which is up 52 percent over April of 2021  but down 30 percent over April of 2019. In April of 2021, that number was  55,210 and, in April of 2019, it was 120,141.

The “load factor” – the “average percentage of airplane seats departing from PTIA that were filled with passengers” – was 76 percent in December of 2021 –  20 percentage points higher than December of 2020, but 6 points lower than December of 2019.