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Louisville airport expecting record number of travelers this summer

Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:57 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 12:22 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The number of travelers in and out of the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport continues to increase and airport officials are expecting a record number of travelers this summer.

The travel industry was hit hard in 2020, but Louisville Region Airport Authority Director of Marketing and Air Service Development Anthony Gilmer said things are really starting to look up.

“Given the scope of how bad things got for the travel industry in the early stages of the pandemic, it’s honestly remarkable we’re already back to those record-breaking numbers so quickly afterward,” he said.

Gilmer said the airport had a record number of travelers in 2019.

“Things are booming here right now,” Gilmer said. “We’re expecting 2019 or better traffic numbers this summer. So we fully expect to be on that record-breaking trajectory as far as passenger traffic goes.”

Spirit Airlines and Breeze Airways both just launched at SDF and Gilmer said the airport has more non-stop flights than they did pre-COVID.

“To have this much capacity come in, to have the new airlines start right at the beginning of the busy summer travel season, a time when people already want to fly, and on top of that there’s so much pent up demand for people who haven’t been able to travel,” Gilmer said. “It’s honestly perfect timing.”

The lines at the airport weren’t too long on Thursday, but travelers did notice an increase in the number of people there compared to even six months ago.

“There’s more people for sure,” Shayna Porter, who was catching a flight to Los Angeles, said. She and Jermain Johnson were headed to L.A. Thursday for the second time since November.

Johnson said he is glad to see things starting to reopen more. Porter said she is too, but there are still some nerves there about more people traveling.

“I’m probably more nervous because people were, you know, more cautious then and now people are behaving as if everything is all perfect and dandy and I think we’re not quite there,” Porter said.

Others told WAVE 3 News they aren’t worried at all.

“I’m fully vaccinated so I’m not as nervous and I feel perfectly fine traveling,” Ellie Gardner, who returned from a trip visiting the National Parks in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, said.

Chad Gardner, who was also on the trip, said he thinks more people are feeling comfortable with traveling because of the vaccines.

“People do seem to be more comfortable and the airlines are more comfortable packing them in-- both of our flights were full,” Chad said.

The airport expects capacities to continue to increase on flights over the next few months too.

Airport officials are encouraging people to get to the airport at least an hour and a half before their flights depart.

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