FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Many summer travel plans were lost in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer 2021 is a different story and the Fort Wayne International Airport is now seeing higher travel numbers than years prior.
The airport finished off 2020 down about 45% in travel for the entire year. June 2020 numbers were only down 4.2% through from June of 2019. Scott Hinderman, executive director at FWA says the return of passengers this summer is more aggressive than he would have thought. He explains the month of July isn’t even over yet in 2021, and there have been more travelers this month than in years prior.
“I think that’s a whole lot of last year we all stayed at home, we couldn’t go anywhere because of the pandemic, there’s a lot of pent up demand to have some fun, take a vacation and go some place exciting,” Hinderman says.
Hinderman explains that for the most part visitors are continuing to oblige by the COVID regulations that are still in place for air travel. People seem upbeat and happy to be traveling again.
Airline companies are doing well and a third frequency to Dallas Fort Worth airport will be added to Fort Wayne in August and Delta is bringing a second flight to Minneapolis. By September, the Fort Wayne Airport will have more capacity than it did prior to the pandemic.
If visiting the Fort Wayne Airport any time soon, changes are being made. Currently the airport is modifying the terminal and expanding to the west.
“We have had 10 years of consecutive growth outside of 2020, so we had to do something to our terminal building. We did anticipate the passengers coming back, we thought it would be more towards the end of 2023 or so but it’s coming back just like the pre-pandemic levels now,” Hinderman says.
Hinderman believes that the new terminal building will be an icon in the Fort Wayne area. Currently the project is on budget and should be complete by March 2023. For now, Hinderman says to add a little extra time when heading to the airport to navigate through construction.