Looking towards recovery, business travel is crucial and it’s always been very valuable to airlines. Coming out of COVID-19, airlines could be looking to make cuts and that could mean that some smaller airports lose routes.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to prevent any losses of service,” said Jason Foster, the Air Service and Economic Development Manager at the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport.
This survey will allow our local airport to identify valuable routes and will help them form presentations to convince airlines that they should continue to fly to Medford.
“Our passenger traffic, like the rest of the country is down significantly. We have to be prepared to present a case for why an airline might want to keep services here versus shift it to another area or pull out altogether,” said Foster.
Preparing data isn’t a new part of the airports function but it is unique during COVID-19.
“We’re always doing these types of reports. We’re always trying to put together data to build a case for a route that we might be trying to win, it’s not as often that we’re trying to keep a route,” said Foster.
Even though the airport is preparing these presentations and collecting data, they remain optimistic about the future.
“Passenger demand is not there right now but it’s starting to come back if you track the TSA numbers,” said Foster.
TSA numbers show the number of passengers that go through TSA Checkpoints in the country. Last Thursday, on April 30, that number was around 154,000 passengers. Compare that to this Thursday, May 8, which was just over 190,000 passengers.
“There’s an uptick in passenger travel week over week,” said Foster, “we’ve been seeing that now for the past couple of weeks and we’re excited to see passengers return to MFR and we’re excited to see passengers return to the air around the country.”