Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport sees drop in passengers, profit due to virus
PHOENIX — After setting a record with nearly 1.8 million passengers last year, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has seen a steep decline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We saw in the latter parts of March and throughout April a near disappearance of air travel,” Ryan Smith, the airport’s director of communications, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.
The airport saw just 11,238 passengers pass through its terminal in April, down from 158,125 in April 2019 — a difference of about 93%.
“We got down to a couple hundred passengers a day coming through the airport, and that was in comparison to nearly 5,000 a day the year before,” Smith said.
The drop in passenger traffic led to an operating loss of about $375,000 in April for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. In comparison, the airport saw a profit of about $640,000 in April 2019.
The number of passengers was still down in May but not by as much, with a total of 51,535 compared to 132,614 the same month last year. That’s a difference of about 60%.
Data showing the economic impact for May has not been released. Smith said they don’t expect to see as much of a loss as they did in April.
He added the $20 million in grants the airport received from the federal coronavirus relief bill “has really helped buffer some of the losses.”
The numbers are looking better for June, with an average of 1,700 to 2,200 passengers going through the airport per day.
“It’s still down from last year, but people are more comfortable flying now,” he said.
“They’re used to the precautions. They know that the airport and the airlines have taken safety measures like cleaning and providing masks.”
In May, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport launched the “Stay Healthy, Fly Safe” initiative to “provide a safe and healthy travel experience” for everyone visiting. As part of the initiative, the airport encourages physical distancing, provides face coverings to passengers who want one, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation of high-touch areas.