Wichita’s main airport, Kansas highways see drop in holiday travelers due to COVID-19

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:46 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A survey from AAA (Triple-A) shows that about 86 percent of Kansans are not traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. Nearly half said COVID-19 is the reason. This means less traffic on highways and empty airport terminals, an unusual site on what Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport says is one of its busiest days of the year. This year, the airport is seeing an approximate 50 percent drop in holiday travel due to the pandemic.

“Last year was a record year,” said Eisenhower National Airport Air Service and Business Development Manager Valerie Wise.

The day before Thanksgiving 2019 saw about 3,200 people depart from Eisenhower National Airport.

On Wednesday, TSA numbers showed a little more than 1,600 people flying out from Wichita’s main airport, Wise said.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that people avoid travel this year to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wichitans who spoke with Eyewitness News on Wednesday said they’re sad that they won’t be spending time with extended family on Thanksgiving, but understand that the current risk is too high.

“My daughter in law is a nurse and she has COVID. That’s where we go for Christmas and Thanksgiving, so we have to stay home,” said Gay Erwin, among many who canceled plans for this week.

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