LANSING, Mich. — The number of passengers flying out of Capital Region International Airport dropped by 75 percent last year, but they're slowly rebounding.
In June of 2019, months before the pandemic began, 13,451 passengers flew out of the airport. The numbers plummeted after the pandemic started but by June of last year had inched back up to 1,616.
Fast forward to June of this year and 8,878 flew out of Lansing, still lower than what it was in 2019, but five times higher than last year.
“It’s a slow progression. We continue to see about every month another 10 percent-plus increase in passenger numbers. Every month we continue to see increases in the amount of seats there are available in a market from airlines," said Nicole Noll-Williams, the president and CEO of the Capital Region Airport Authority. "We’re excited about this growth. We want to get people back to traveling."
Thursday was Bruce Clark’s first time flying since the pandemic started. He’s heading to Charleston, South Carolina, to pick up a friend and said he’s excited to be traveling again.
“Just getting in contact with people that we haven’t seen in a long time. You know everybody’s been locked down and just getting that stress off our shoulders again,” Clark said.
Cam Karber flew back into Lansing Thursday morning from South Carolina. She said she was very scared the first time she flew during the pandemic but is now more comfortable.
“I think it’s probably okay to travel if you know what you’re doing and try and stay away from as many people as possible. And stay safe, you know. Wear your mask. Stay six feet away," Karber said.
Last year the airport received a $10 million federal grant which helped make sure there were no interruptions in service. They recently received another $2.7 million in federal money, which will go towards operations, sanitizing, and janitorial services.
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