Air travel volume ramps up; one group lags behind

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BIG FLATS, N.Y. (WETM) — As more people get vaccinated, more people are getting on flights to travel. However, the Elmira Corning Regional Airport noticed that one group is still not getting on airplanes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you delay travel until fully vaccinated.

Tom Freeman, Director of Aviation at Elmira Corning Regional Airport, said the numbers are bouncing back, but it is still a slow process.

“Typically, the daily volume was 400 to 500 a day coming in through both Allegiant and Delta,” said Freeman. “Of course, with the pandemic that dropped off by up to 90%. We’ve seen a nice rebound. We probably are back at about 50% of that. So, we are seeing 200 to 250 a day, depending on the day.”

For airlines, their struggle is still with one particular group: business travelers.

“We really haven’t seen a lot of the business traveler,” said Freeman. “With the travel ban lifted in April, we’ve seen some of that come back, but it is coming back slowly.”

With many jobs transitioning to 100% remote, the need to travel for business purposes has plummeted. For companies like Delta, they are still running flights at pandemic levels.

“Every indication is they’ll add more flights back this summer, but they are waiting to see if the business traveler will return,” said Freeman.

So while people are beginning to book flights for vacations, there will be a serious focus on if people take business trips over the coming weeks.

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