Springfield airport sees pre-pandemic passenger numbers
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Summer travel is in full swing. The Springfield-Branson National Airport is seeing the number of travelers back to levels before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aviation director Brian Weiler says that for June, travel is 98% of where it was during June 2019.
Weiler says there were 100,000 passengers in excess of a month for May.
”People are definitely wanting to fly again,” Weiler says. “We’ve seen a strong demand for air service really all throughout this year.”
Weiler says the increase in passengers also comes as flights are canceled and delayed across the country.
“They will typically, for the most part, be able to get you to your destination,” Weiler says. “It may not be exactly on time, so just be patient. Realize a lot of the airlines are working with less staff. The system is strained.”
Cara Salley flew from Springfield to Geneva, with layovers in Atlanta and then Paris.
The delays were a big concern for her and even caused Salley to miss one of her connecting flights on her way into Springfield.
“It was kinda crazy,” Salley says. “There were about 20 angry Texans yelling at eight British Airline employees, and it was a fun experience.”
Flight ticket prices are continuing to go up.
Weiler says, on average, a 7% increase each month, and prices are expected to keep rising.
“If you’re not planning to fly until this fall, you’re probably better off buying your tickets now or as soon as you can to avoid further escalations down the road,” Weiler says.
This comes as fuel costs rise, labor costs increase, and other factors.
Salley says she was lucky, avoiding some of those high prices.
“I was fortunate to have some miles I was able to use, so I didn’t have it too crazy,” Salley says. “Higher than normal even with the miles but not too bad for a last-minute ticket. I was grateful.”
Weiler says leisure travel is what’s high right now, while business travel is lagging.
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