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San Antonio International Airport picks up momentum

San Antonio International Airport picks up momentum

By: W. Scott Bailey

August 6, 2021

The Alamo City still has a long way to go to win back all the airport passenger traffic it lost due to the pandemic, but new data indicates that a significant recovery is under way,

Nearly 3 million ticket holders flew into or out of San Antonio International Airport over the first half of 2021. Over a quarter of that traffic was in June.

In June alone, the passenger count topped 756,000 — the first time it’s been north of 700,000 since the disruption in travel caused by Covid-19.

Jesus Saenz, director of airports for the San Antonio Airport System, believes these latest numbers are more than a temporary ascent.

“I feel very confident and optimistic about our future and continued rebound,” he told me.

June traffic was up more than 270% over the same month in 2020. Year to date, the overall passenger volume has increased more than 34% compared to the same six-month span in 2020.

More than 672,600 domestic passengers passed through the SAT terminals in June. The head count for January through June topped 2.6 million. Year over year, those totals were up 231% and 24%, respectively.

The international gains were more impressive, with the June and six-month totals up 10557.2% and 258.4%, respectively, from 2020.

Saenz predicted weeks before the latest data was released that the June and July passenger counts would be “more solid.”

Indeed, despite a stubborn pandemic, San Antonio International’s June traffic count was at 80% of the total for the same month in 2019 — well before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Several recent airline wins could increase the pace of recovery.

JetBlue Airways will launch new nonstop service to New York and Boston this fall.

Southwest Airlines will offer new seasonal nonstop flights to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and resume holiday nonstop service to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in November. And next month, Sun Country will join Allegiant, Frontier and Southwest in offering nonstop service to Las Vegas.

Three carriers that offered nonstop service to the New York City area prior to the pandemic — American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines — plan to resume those flights this fall.

Meanwhile, United and Southwest plan to resume service to San Francisco and New Orleans, respectively, in September.

“Our teams are working closely with our airlines and stakeholders to ensure we remain competitive and attractive,” Saenz said.

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