EVV anticipating high holiday travel numbers

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Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:54 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Perhaps no industry was hit harder by the pandemic than airlines.

Airports around the country are seeing a return to pre-pandemic air travel numbers this holiday season.

With health officials urging people to maintain social distancing, the number of flights in 2020 was less-than half of what it was the year before.

Evansville Regional Airport Executive Director Nate Hahn says airlines are expecting a big rebound this year.

“We’ve really come back from COVID in a lot of good ways,” Hahn said. “We’re about 75 to 80 percent of where we were in 2019, which was a banner year for us.”

Hahn says Allegiant Air and American Airlines add flights at EVV for Thanksgiving, which helps as the number of people flying goes up around holidays.

“The Thanksgiving holiday season is always the busiest travel time of the year,” Hahn said. “That Sunday is typically the busiest travel day of the year, and we expect that to continue this year.”

Hahn says a big day for EVV is around six or seven hundred passengers.

At bigger airports around the country, that number is much higher around the holidays, and passengers are already experiencing packed airports.

“I came from Denver, Colorado,” said Katie Kraft, who flew into Evansville Monday on a connecting flight from Chicago. “I got there at like 5:30 this morning and the line for security was literally out the door. There’s a lot of people traveling this year, especially compared to last year.”

“In Charlotte at the airport, it was like people were running stoplights,” said William Rideout, who flew in from Charlotte via Boston.

The busiest weekend for airlines doesn’t come without a cost; both a monetary cost and a commitment of time.

Kraft says she flew in early and is staying late due to the added costs.

“I’m trying to avoid the chaos and mainly just the prices. It was double to fly over the weekend as opposed to a Monday.”

Monday was a quiet day at EVV, but as the week goes on, officials say that will certainly change.

Due to the sudden resurgence of air travel this Thanksgiving weekend, Hahn encourages people to remain patient with airport staff.

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