The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport saw a decrease in May 2020 traffic down by 90% on a year over year basis. May 2020 saw 6,387 passengers fly via ROA compared to 65,026 in May of 2019, a decrease of 58,639 passengers. May year to date passenger traffic was down 50% versus 2019 with 139,573 passengers served this year compared to 280,099 in 2019.
The spread of COVID-19 causing businesses to restrict travel, advisories to restrict non-essential travel, and stay at home orders have all played a role in the decrease of airline operations and travelers which ended the 29 months of consecutive passenger growth, beginning in September of 2016. The airport’s loss of 58,639 passengers equates to 1,891 fewer passengers flying each day in May.
“The decrease in airline operations and passenger traffic this spring was not unexpected due to the pandemic,” stated Timothy T. Bradshaw, A.A.E., executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission. “We hope to see passenger numbers continue to gradually increase over the summer and into fall if the threat is diminished. The airlines have changed their schedules considerably and eliminated flights from airports across the country. As airlines rebuild their schedules for the new demand environment, it is critical to use our air service to keep it and help our economy grow. We continue to appreciate the support of our community choosing to fly ROA and not driving out of market to fly.”
The Commission continues to work with the airlines to maintain air service the airport has to serve the region. “We are open and operational and if the public needs to fly and have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols in place, as do the airlines, to make it as safe as possible. The commission sincerely thanks our customers for choosing to fly ROA,” the airport said in a statement.