The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport saw a sharp decrease in 2020 traffic with March traffic down 50.7 percent and April traffic down by 97 percent on a year over year basis. March witnessed 28,660 passengers fly via ROA compared to 58,136 in March of 2019 a decrease of 29,476 passengers. April 2020 witnessed 1,823 passengers fly via ROA compared to 60,965 in April 2019, a decrease of 59,142 passengers. April year to date passenger traffic was down 38 percent versus 2019 with 133,186 passengers served this year compared to 215,073 in 2019.
The spread of COVID-19, businesses eliminating travel, advisories to restrict non-essential travel, and stay at home orders have all played a role in this decrease in airline operations and travelers which ended the 29 months of sustained passenger growth, beginning in September of 2016. The airport’s loss of 59,142 passengers equates to 1,971 fewer passengers flying each day in April.
“The decrease in airline operations and passengers occurring this spring was not unexpected due to the pandemic,” stated Timothy T. Bradshaw, A.A.E., executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission. “We hope to see passenger numbers gradually increase over the summer and into fall as this threat is diminished. The airlines have changed their schedules considerably and eliminated flights from airports across the country. We are confident we will see strong growth in travel at a later time. We continue to appreciate the support of our community choosing to fly ROA and not driving out of market to fly.”
The commission continues to work with the airlines to maintain air service the airport has to serve the region. We are open and operational and if the public needs to fly and have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols in place, as do the airlines, to make it as safe as possible. The commission sincerely thanks our customers for choosing to fly ROA.