SARASOTA — Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport passenger traffic saw a fourfold increase from 9,742 passengers in April to 39,988 passengers in May, as passengers begin to fly again after coronavirus pandemic-based travel restrictions begin to wane.
The airlines that serve the airport are beginning to add flights to their summer schedule as airports, airlines and the Transportation Security Administration implement cleaning and safety measures to protect passengers while traveling.
Compared to May 2019, traffic at the airport, under the call letters SRQ, is down 75%, which highlights the divide between the market before and during the pandemic. Year-to-date figures show airport passenger traffic is down 21%, according to a press release.
Carriers adding flights at SRQ include Delta Air Lines, which will bring back a third daily flight to Atlanta on June 11 and a fourth daily flight on July 2. American Airlines will add additional flights to Charlotte, N.C., and bring back service in early July to Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and New York LaGuardia. Frontier Airlines will add service to Cleveland and Philadelphia on June 6 and Cincinnati and Chicago on July 4. Allegiant is providing a minimum of twice weekly service to Baltimore; Cincinnati; Cleveland; St. Louis; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; Asheville, N.C.; Pittsburgh; Indianapolis; Harrisburg, Penn.; and Columbus, Ohio. Flights to Syracuse, N.Y., are scheduled to return June 24.
“We are happy to see our flight schedule and passenger levels rebounding after a difficult March and April," says Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo in the statement. "The world has changed and so has our airport. Passengers using SRQ will now see numerous safety measures implemented throughout the facility."
Some of the measures include increased janitorial staff, plexiglass shields at all customer service counters, hand sanitizer stations and social distancing markers in queuing lines. Employees, tenants and passengers will also wear protective face coverings.
"We feel the size and layout of our airport is to our advantage, allowing passengers to efficiently transition from the parking lot to the aircraft in a clean and safe environment," says Piccolo. "There is no need to take a shuttle, train or walk long distances in a crowded environment. Our gate hold areas provide ample seating, which allows people to easily social distance while waiting for their flight to board. We have worked hard to create a safe environment and we want our passengers to know that when they are ready, we are ready."