Tampa Bay airports expecting holiday travel boost despite rising coronavirus numbers

By The Numbers

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Officials at Tampa Bay area airports hope that extended safety measures will give more people the confidence to travel for the holidays after being hard-hit by the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport currently has a decrease of more than 7% when it comes to Thanksgiving week flights. This year’s number is compared to the 168 scheduled flights during the same week in 2019.

December holiday flights at PIE are also down more than 2.5%, likely because of lower demand.

At Tampa International Airport, spokeswoman Emily Nipps says this year’s holiday air traffic will only be a fraction of what it normally is.

“This year’s Thanksgiving passenger traffic is projected to be about 55 to 60 percent of what it was during the same period last year,” Nipps said.

During the Thanksgiving travel period – Nov. 20 through Nov. 30 – between 47,000 and 49,000 passengers are expected to travel through Tampa International Airport. And while all of the 70 restaurants located at TPA are not yet fully operational, travel is picking up from being down 96% in spring when COVID-19 took hold.

To prepare for an uptick in air travel, some of the safety measures being implemented at TPA incude:

  • Hand sanitizing stations
  • Acrylic barriers at high touch areas
  • Enhanced methods and frequency of cleaning
  • Social distancing markers
  • Touchless options, including new electronic gates, as well as touchless payment at our shops and restaurants

TPA asks all guests to:

  • Wear a face mask properly at all times
  • Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer
  • Maintain social distancing as much as possible
  • Use touchless options and mobile boarding passes
  • Allow ample time at the airport to help avoid crowds
  • Check with your airline for any additional guidelines

A new national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) shows that the majority of Americans are not expected to travel this holiday season.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults across the country shows that 72% of Americans are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% are unlikely to travel for Christmas, citing the public health crisis as a reason to stay home.

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