Charleston Airport not expected to rebound to pre-pandemic traveler numbers until 2022

Updated: May. 25, 2020 at 2:43 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston International Airport is set to see its fewest fliers over a Memorial Day weekend in recent years and may not see a full rebound until 2022.

The airport, which saw historic highs a year ago, is now expected to see just over 10-percent of what it saw then. At this point last year, there were between 17,000 and 19,000 fliers a day coming in and out over the holiday weekend, a 14-percent increase from 2018.

Now, only about 2,000 fliers a day are coming in, according to the airport’s executive director Paul Campbell.

“By the fall, I do think we’ll be well more than 50-percent of our travel, maybe even 60-to-70-percent of our travel. We think that 2021 will be a good year for us.” Campbell said. “We’re optimistic, and we’re positive. Sometime in 2022, we should hit the numbers we were hitting before.”

Campbell added that they hit their lowest numbers at the end of March with an almost 95-percent drop in fliers. By the Fourth of July, he’s expecting between 4,000 and 5,000 travelers a day.

“It’s coming back," he said. “It’s going to be slow. It’s going to take awhile to get where we were before, because everyone is concerned about safety. Everybody is concerned about their health.”

Hand sanitizer stations and social distancing signs are scattered around the airport, and travelers are encouraged to wear masks with some airlines even requiring them.

The airport has also reported no COVID-19 cases among any of the more than 2,000 workers there.

“Anytime you’re ready to travel, we’re going to make sure you do it safely,” Campbell said.

For more information on flights and the airport, click here.

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