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Quad City International Airport maintains traffic during seasonal downturn, retains critical route to world’s busiest airport

October 22, 2020

As with all things in the era of COVID-19, nothing is following usual patterns as the Quad City International Airport reports relatively flat passenger numbers from August to September. In past years, the dip in traffic from August to September has resulted in up to 7,000 fewer passengers. Air travel worldwide continues to experience a tumultuous and slow recovery, with TSA recently reporting that they screened 1 million passengers in a single day for the first time since March.

While airlines continue to respond to the pandemic by adjusting routes and loading schedules only weeks in advance as opposed to months, MLI has kept a critical route to Atlanta.

“We think being small is our biggest asset especially right now because we can offer fewer contact points, more space to spread out and more time waiting at home before coming to the airport,” said Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E., executive director, Quad City International Airport. “But by keeping valuable connections to large hubs like Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare and Dallas, passengers have the ability to connect to wherever they need to go.”

Nonstop service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is offered through Delta Air Lines. Delta is one of the few airlines still blocking middle seats, and has committed to doing so longer than any other airline through at least Jan. 6, 2021.

“The importance of this added measure cannot be overstated,” said Leischner. “While numerous studies have shown that the rate of transmission of COVID-19 on an airplane is low, any additional precaution can make the difference.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released COVID-19 travel guidelines that included information for passengers flying during the pandemic. One of the most prominent points was the low transmission risk during air travel. This is due to the high air exchange rate, where air onboard is exchanged every 2-3 minutes, and then goes through HEPA filtration. By comparison, the average office space air is exchanged 2-3 times per hour.

This process of air filtration means the riskiest part of travel often occurs to and from the airport, and the airport itself. In a recent customer survey, 96% of respondents described the Quad City International Airport as clean. Staff is continuing to meet on a weekly basis to review its COVID-19 protocols and policies and make any necessary changes.

The Quad City International Airport would like to remind everyone that face coverings are required in the airport and complimentary coverings are available at each entrance. All airlines providing service at the airport also require face coverings while onboard an aircraft.

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