Erie Airport Continues to Soar as Regional Asset
As states reopen and people begin to adjust to a new normal, one of the industries being watched as an economic indicator is that of air travel. Here, Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field Executive Director Derek Martin shares the airport’s COVID-19 safety response and impact on its operations, as well as why it continues to soar as a regional asset.
The Transportation Security Administration has been reporting on passenger numbers since state lockdowns were lifted. Describe the picture here in Erie.
In the month of April, TSA screened less than 90,000 passengers at the nation airports. These numbers represent a 96-percent reduction in passenger screening. In the United States, TSA normally screens between 2.4 million to 2.8 million passengers daily. In the month of June 2020, a total of 1,852 passengers boarded at Erie Airport. This is compared to June 2019, when ERI boarded 9,691 passengers. We have had a dramatic reduction in flights, going from 50 weekly departures to 21 weekly departures in June 2020.
How has the pandemic impacted business travel?
Businesses have made a difficult decision to suspend all business-related travel due to COVID-19 concerns. Along with the stay-at-home orders in all 50 states, the business community has been working from home. The state of Texas and others have had the strictest restrictions for visitors to their state. For example, if you arrive in Austin, Texas, you are screened and are requested to have a stay-at-home/ hotel for 14 days. These restrictions make it hard for the business traveler.
What types of safety protocols should passengers expect at the Erie Airport?
- Airport personnel have been cleaning and disinfecting high traffic areas.
- There are alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations available in the terminal.
- Deep cleaning of the public areas is performed twice daily.
- Employees have received training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols.
- Our airline partners have implemented an electrostatic fogging procedure throughout the aircraft cabins.
Why is air travel still one of the safest modes of transportation?
Air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation for reasons such asu commercial aircraft go through extensive testing before they are sold to airlines and the airline industry is subject to mandatory federal safety regulations and standards. The airlines also have implemented electrostatic fogging procedures in response to COVID-19.
Prior to the pandemic, the Erie Airport was focused on improvements, including a new restaurant and expanded daily flights. Tell us more.
The airport will begin the following projects this summer.
- Snow Removal Equipment Building
- Parking Lot Reconfiguartion and Car Rental Canopy
- Terminal Reroofing
- Maintenance Reroofing
- Custom Border Protection Renovation
- Concrete Apron Expansion
- Repave Parking Lots and Roadways into and out of the airport
What makes the Erie Airport such a unique regional asset?
Erie Airport is a convenient and easy-to- use airport with service from three legacy carriers, onsite parking, car rental agencies available, and secured food and beverage. Airfare is competitive, and service on American Airlines and United Airlines allows you to connect anywhere in the world. Per Economic Impact of Aviation in Pennsylvania 2019 Interim Report from the PennDOT Bureau of Aviation, the Erie Airport supports:
- 1,719 jobs
- $65.785 million total payroll
- $182.612 million total output
For more information about the Erie International Airport, visit www.erieairport.org.