PDX Air Travel was Way Down Over Thanksgiving, as Expected

Dec. 2, 2020

Passenger volumes at Portland International Airport were down 69% from a year ago during the 10-day Thanksgiving holiday period, according to preliminary data.

Health authorities in Oregon and nationally had encouraged people to forgo family Thanksgivings to contain the coronavirus. It’s clear that many people did stay home – but enough traveled that some health experts are alarmed that there may be a major spike in infections in the coming weeks.

The Port of Portland says just shy of 200,000 travelers flew in or out of PDX over the holiday. That compares to about 640,000 during the same period in 2019 and is almost precisely in line with the port’s forecast.

The airport’s busiest day – Sunday, Nov. 29 – had 20,775 travelers. That compares to 69,000 on the busiest Thanksgiving travel day a year earlier and is below the port’s forecast of 25,000 flyers for last Sunday.

Nationally, Sunday was the busiest travel day since the pandemic started with 1.2 million people flying. That compares to an average of about 800,000 daily flyers during November outside the holiday period, but it’s down from 2.9 million on the same date in 2019.

Oregon road travel data for last week won’t be available until the end of the week, but Apple’s online mobility data shows a roughly 12% decline in Multnomah County driving from Nov. 20 through Nov. 30 as compared to the rest of the month.

That could suggest more people staying home for Thanksgiving – or it might reflect a decline in commuting and commercial travel during the holiday period.

— Mike Rogoway | [email protected] | twitter: @rogoway |


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