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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2020 3 months ago

Airport passenger traffic down 23% in March from coronavirus effects

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Passenger traffic is expected to be down 95% in April.

SARASOTA — Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport passenger traffic decreased 22.6% in March, with 153,246 passengers traveling through the airport, under the call letters SRQ. 

The majority of passengers were recorded in the first half of the month, according to a press release. 

Prior to the March decrease, the airport had 24 straight months of increased passenger traffic. Year-to-date, airport passenger traffic is up 23% for the first three months of 2020, with 611,450 passengers using SRQ.

“With the spread of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, along with stay-at-home orders implemented throughout the country, the airport has experienced a sharp decline in passengers and air service," says Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo in the statement. "We will continue to maintain and operate the airport during this difficult time so that quality air transportation remains available and accessible to our local community."  

In the statement, Piccolo also says passenger traffic is expected to be down 95% in April as the full effects of the decline in travel are experienced for the full month. 

Many of SRQ’s nine air carriers are applying for federal grant money under the CARES Act, according to the release. The airport expects to maintain a minimal level of service to multiple destinations as the country transitions through the pandemic.

For the next couple of months, the airport plans to proceed with construction projects that are difficult to complete when high volumes of travelers are using the airport. The projects include repaving the short- and long-term parking lots, renovating the screening checkpoint area and completing airfield projects that require partial closures of taxiways and runways. 

Piccolo says the airport is increasing the number of janitorial employees and instituting cleaning procedures that meet or exceed CDC guidelines. 

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