Graham Kilmer

Airport Traffic Still Down in May

Given the massive drop in traffic seen in April, May's slight improvement may be negligible.

By - Jun 20th, 2020 09:35 am
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Image from the airport.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Image from the airport.

Air traffic at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is up slightly from the previous month, but still near historic lows.

Airline traffic carrying passengers and mail are the two areas experiencing massive drops in traffic at the airport compared to last year.

In April, the number of airline passengers that went through the airport was down approximately 96 percent in April compared to the previous year. In May, that number improved. The month was only down approximately 89 percent compared to the previous year.

However, despite the slight increase in the percent change relative to last year, the airport is still seeing a historic drop in airline activity. And it only saw approximately 2,800 more passengers in May than in April.

During the first two months of 2020, the airport was on track to see a modest increase in the number of airline passengers that passed through compared to 2019. In January passenger traffic was up approximately one percent. And in February, it was up 0.22 percent.

But the pandemic sent that crashing down. By March passenger traffic was down approximately 53 percent compared to 2019. In the past three months, the combined air passenger traffic at the airport was less than what it typically sees in a single month.

Approximately 72 percent of the air passenger traffic at the airport in May came from Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. In May, Airport Director Brian Dranzik said major airlines Delta and United were down to three flights a day. That month they accounted for approximately 18 percent of the passenger traffic through the airport.

Air mail has also been hard hit by the pandemic. In May, the amount of air mail that passed through the airport was down approximately 87 percent relative to the previous year.

Milwaukee Mitchell received $29 million in CARES Act funding. But Dranzik said in May those funds would likely last only three to four months.

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