July passenger numbers show the Quad City International Airport is trending at least 4% higher in its recovery than the national average, according to TSA throughput numbers. U.S. domestic air travel continues to be down 70% or more compared to 2019 as the industry continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19. Quad City International Airport had 22,088 total passengers in July, compared to 14,390 in June, and 64,311 in July 2019.
While the airport typically caters to a larger number of business travelers who take advantage of flights to major hubs like Chicago, Minneapolis and Atlanta, leisure travel to destinations in Florida, Arizona and Nevada through Allegiant Air have bounced back in greater numbers.
“There are likely a few factors contributing to this increase, including lower airfare to vacation destinations, but also our size and location are a differentiator,” said Ashleigh Johnston, public relations and marketing manager, Quad City International Airport. “Our convenient location means it’s a quick drive from home, there’s less contact with crowds as you arrive and you still have ample space while you’re in the airport to spread out which are all important factors to consider when traveling.”
The airport took action beginning in March to put safety measures into place. Last month, the airport launched a safety campaign called #WeGoQC that encourages people to plan ahead, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. The airport has distributed 3,800 face coverings since June.
“We understand there are people who are ready to take their next trip, and others who may be more apprehensive,” Johnston continued. “#WeGoQC is for everyone to follow along with what we’re doing at the airport and share their own experiences, so other passengers know what to expect and how they can travel safely.”
Even with the increase, airlines are operating with reduced schedules. Flights to Minneapolis, Denver and Detroit are currently on hold at Quad City International Airport but airport officials fully expect those routes to return as traffic continues to increase.
“We had no issues fulfilling these routes prior to COVID-19 so this is not a matter of if these routes will return but simply when,” said Benjamin Leischner, executive director, Quad City International Airport. “Airlines look at where they can be most profitable, of course, but their gains are also ours when they resume their normal schedule and increased traffic opens the door for new routes in the future.”