Air travel rebounding at Tallahassee International Airport

COVID vaccine helping travelers feel safe
Posted at 11:53 AM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 23:34:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Traffic at Tallahassee International Airport (TLH) is taking off after many passengers were left grounded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. After a fairly quiet year for travel in and out of TLH, more baggage is moving through here again. More people feel comfortable flying.

Charles Adams is one of those travelers.

“I came down. My daughter got married. I flew down. Me and her mother did,” he said. They visited from Peoria, Illinois. ABC 27 asked Adams if there was any hesitation about getting on a plane. He said no and added, “I got both my shots. I figured at my age, if I get it, I’m a goner anyway.”

Those COVID-19 vaccines appear to be launching more people like him into the air. Jim Durwin is Deputy Director of Aviation at TLH. “We are super excited to see the customers coming back,” Durwin said.

April of 2020 saw 3,020 passengers. The pandemic slashed the number from the year before when 71,036 passed through in April of 2019.

Since then, things have picked up. January of 2021 recorded 26,653 passengers. February was even better with 27,049.

“Each month, we’re getting a little bit better,” Durwin explained.

A year ago, with the pandemic, airport restaurants and gift shops had to close for safety. With rebounding travel, they’re opening back up again for passengers.

“We still are conducting enhanced cleaning, social distancing, the shields,” added Durwin. “There’s the federal mandate for face coverings both in the airport and while traveling.”

Adams said he’s happy to comply with the mandates if they get the country moving again.

“It’s good for the economy. It’s really good,” Adams said.

American Airlines, Delta and United all serve Tallahassee.

American said due to strong demand, the airline expects to fly more than 90 percent of its domestic seat capacity this summer. Delta plans to stop blocking middle seats and start selling all seats on May 1. United said it will start hiring new pilots for the first time in more than a year.