Passenger travel is starting to increase again at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Officials are hoping it's the beginning of a bounce back after a year of steep losses.
A year ago, PTI was seeing about 2% of its normal passenger loads. Now, that number is nearing 50%. Kevin Baker, PTI's executive director, says traffic has been climbing fast over the past couple of months.
“I think it's just obvious that, you know, more and more people are getting vaccinated and the numbers overall are coming down and people are very eager to get back to flying. That's very clear," says Baker. "So hopefully here in the next few months, things start to really accelerate.”
Routes are starting to come back too. At one point last year, the airport had non-stop flights to just three cities, down from 16 pre-pandemic.
“Just in the next few days, we're going to start picking up new service to Orlando, to Fort Lauderdale, to Nashville, New York. Flights are returning," says Baker. "So we're really seeing a lot of this come back and come back pretty quickly at this point. It's good to see."
Full recovery is still a ways away for PTI though. Many restaurants and gift shops are still closed or operating under limited hours. Valet parking services haven't resumed either.
Baker says cargo revenue and CARES Act money is helping to keep the airport afloat, despite the losses.