MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) – The Quad Cities International Airport said Tuesday it’s seen travel rates rebound so far in 2022.
According to a media release, travel this year improved 70% compared to February 2021, with a total of 40,752 passengers going through the airport last month.
Only 23,981 traveled in February 2021, according to the airport. Delta Air Lines has seen the largest swing in traffic, in part due to the company’s prolonged COVID-19 mitigations that included blocking seats through the first half of 2021.
“There’s no doubt that the loosening or removal of COVID mitigations as a result of declining cases are playing a role in what we’re seeing this year so far,” Ashleigh Davis, public relations and marketing manager for the airport, said.
While the majority of cities and states are loosening restrictions, the federal mask mandate is still in place through April 18, according to the release.
U.S. airports, airlines and public transportation are all included in the mandate which requires face coverings at all times, except when eating or drinking.
Spring break 2022 is also shaping up to be the busiest since 2019, though still slightly below 2019 levels, according to the release.
The airport said this aligns with many analysts’ predictions that full recovery may not occur until 2023. One roadblock to recovery is widespread airline crew shortages, according to the release.
Despite surging demand, airlines continue to cut routes, decrease frequency of routes or delay restoration of routes that were suspended in 2020.
Business travel also remains sluggish, causing airlines to hedge their bets with vacation destinations with the limited resources available, according to the release.
“I think we will see more business travel this year – though it may be more of a slow trickle versus the rapid return of leisure travel,” Davis said. “Even within our own organization, we’ve been to several conferences already this year with more planned. There is value in meeting face to face with the people that directly impact your organization.”
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