Tulsa International Airport Sees Big Drop In Travelers


Monday, April 13th 2020, 6:52 pm


Tulsa International Airport is seeing a huge drop in travelers due to COVID-19.

It's a trend reflected in airports across the U.S. Staff say nearly half of all flights that are still scheduled end up getting canceled anyway.
 
Nearly every hallway at Tulsa International Airport is empty, apart from cleaning crews, and construction workers.
 
Andrew Pierini with Tulsa International Airport tells me on some days in the last few weeks, they've seen as much as a 96 percent drop in travelers.
 
"This is something that is completely unprecedented when it comes to the aviation industry," Pierini said.
 
The massive drop in the number of people flying has affected nearly every part of the operations here.
 
"It kind of trickles down from there. Our concessions have had to cut hours, some of them are closed. We've removed 50 percent of seating in our restaurants that are still open to encourage social distancing," Pierini said.
 
Pierini says they're only allowing passengers in the terminal, or people who are helping passengers who have disabilities.
 
Most importantly, they've ramped up cleaning to continuously hit heavily touched areas, like seats, handrails and elevator buttons. One of the most noticeable changes the 78 American Airlines planes parked on the crosswind runway, as airlines cut back on flights and routes amid much lower demand. Other airlines have also parked airplanes at Tulsa International.
 
Pierini says half of the flights that are still being scheduled, end up getting canceled. He also says they don't know when travel will bounce back, but it'll likely take a while.
 
"We'll take it day by day, but it's definitely going to be a slow recovery," Pierini said.

 

Pierini says it could be as late as 2021 before they get back to normal levels.

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