Wichita airport sees increase in passengers as more see light at end of pandemic tunnel

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Many Americans are traveling during Spring Break, and according to a AAA (Triple-A) survey, 60 percent plan to travel within the next three months. In Wichita, Eisenhower National Airport is seeing an increase in passengers. This week, the passenger count was 35 percent higher than the daily average last March.

Eyewitness News spoke with Wichitans who said with COVID-19 declining overall and more people getting their shot, things seem to be getting somewhat back to normal.

Greg Alexander and his family were among the recent increase in passengers flying out of Wichita. The family went to see Alexander’s mother for Spring Break.

“We haven’t seen her in about a year, and she finally got her shot,” Alexander said. “And we were able to visit her. It was nice to see her again.”

After a slow year for travel, airlines across the country are seeing more passengers over Spring Break. They’re hoping the trend continues throughout the year.

“It’s so great to see people in the terminal. It just gives us optimism,” said Eisenhower Airport Air Service and Marketing Manager Valerie Wise. “I talked with the airlines and concession employees, and they’re just so thrilled to see people and somewhat normalcy again.”

In Wichita Friday, Jesus Le was back home after his visiting his family in Texas. It was his first bigger trip since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t really travel, maybe to KC to see my sister,” he said. “A couple of small trips, nothing crazy, but since things are opening back up, the numbers are getting lower, so I just thought of going to see family in Texas.”

AAA travel agent Matt Bert said they are also seeing a high demand of people planning trips.

“We’ve seen a lot of requests for everything, from a couple of weeks ago before Spring Break started,” he said. “And now people are starting to think about the summer, and into the fall as well, even for next year.”

Bert said overall, things seem to be getting better for the travel industry.

“Such a big difference. I mean, last year, we were dealing with people in foreign countries trying to get home, dealing with cancelations in the cruise lines,” he said. “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The CDC continues to encourage people to wait to travel. If you do travel, you need to be sure to check out travel restrictions, as well as testing requirements if you’re traveling outside of the United States.

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