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QC Airport credits teamwork with stable end to 2020

January 19, 2021

Passenger traffic at the Quad City International Airport ended on a solid note with 24,000 passengers traveling in December – the second highest volume since the pandemic began. Despite the lowest point in April seeing a 95% decline, traffic for 2020 ended at 58% down year over year – a rate that kept pace with overall nationwide decline.

“There were a few factors that prevented December for being our strongest month during the pandemic – one, of course, was the rising cases of COVID-19 and travelers canceling or delaying their plans,” said Ashleigh Johnston, public relations and marketing manager. “The second is the late-December winter storm that dumped freezing rain on our region and resulted in a few canceled flights. However, with the early return of our nonstop service to Denver, we are feeling optimistic heading into 2021.”

Protecting the airport’s workforce was airport leadership’s number one priority when the pandemic began, as airports were identified as essential infrastructure that would remain open and operational. Starting as early as January with the first inclinations of COVID-19 spreading worldwide, leaders began examining sick leave policies. By March, policies were put in place above and beyond federal and state requirements to ensure employees would not have to worry about their paycheck if they had to take time off to recover, quarantine, help a family member, or get tested for COVID-19.

The airport also immediately went to work to protect the flying public. Hand sanitizing stations, terminal signage, overhead announcements, and social distancing decals at queues and on airport seating were added. Building maintenance crews increased cleaning and employed the use of an electrostatic disinfecting sprayer. Thousands of free face coverings have been distributed since the airport first made them available in June. An e-newsletter was launched and social media channels were used to communicate evolving developments related to travel – including studies that have shown the risk of transmission on airplanes is quite low thanks to the aircrafts’ air filtration system.

“We believe one of our biggest assets is our small size and location – we’re close to home so you don’t have to spend as much time in the terminal, no need for shuttles thanks to close and convenient parking, and we have a staff that embraces our role to serve the region,” said Johnston. “Only time will tell what the year ahead looks like but we are ready to respond and help our passengers safely return to travel.”

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