San Jose, Oakland Airports Await Summer as Passenger Rebound Stalls

May 23, 2024

San Jose and Oakland airports are poised to embrace the potentially busy launch for the summer travel season at a time when a post-coronavirus rebound in passenger trips is starting to stall.

The South Bay and East Bay aviation hubs have begun to experience a marked flattening of the number of passengers they are handling yearly, according to this news organization’s analysis of the most recently available airport statistics.

Here are some of the latest statistics for passenger trips reported by San Jose International Airport and San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport:

— In March, San Jose Airport handled slightly over 930,500 passengers, which was down 3.6% from the same month the year before. Over the one-year period that ended in March 2024, San Jose Airport handled 12.05 million passengers, which was down 0.4% from the 12.1 million passengers the airport accommodated in 2023.

— San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport accommodated nearly 904,300 passengers in March, which was down 0.9% from the same month in 2023. Over the 12 months that ended in March, Oakland Airport handled 11.27 million passengers, up 0.3% from the 11.24 million passengers the East Bay travel complex accommodated in 2023.

Both San Jose and Oakland airports remain far below the lofty altitudes they had achieved in 2019, the final year before the economic maladies unleashed by the coronavirus began to afflict the travel and hotel sectors both in the Bay Area and worldwide.

San Francisco International Airport, similarly, has a long way to go before it climbs back to the levels it had achieved in 2019.

Here’s how far away the Bay Area’s three airports are from their pre-coronavirus heights:

— San Jose Airport’s passenger totals over the 12 most recent months were 22.7% below the number of passengers the South Bay aviation hub achieved in 2019 when it handled a record high of 15.65 million passengers.

— Oakland Airport’s passenger totals during the one-year period ending in March were 16% below the 13.38 million passengers the East Bay aviation complex accommodated in 2019.

— San Francisco Airport’s 50.98 million passengers over the 12 months ending in March were 11.3% below the 57.49 million passengers SFO handled in 2019.

San Jose Airport officials reported that estimates from airlines suggest that during the Memorial that is now underway and concludes on May 31, 376,358 seats are available for both arriving and departing flights.

The latest Memorial Day available seat number for San Jose Airport, however, was 10.7% below the 419,024 in available seats during the similar Memorial Day travel season for 2023.

San Jose Airport was uplifted by the Frontier Airlines announcement that the low-cost air carrier has decided to launch daily nonstop services from the South Bay to five destinations this summer.

In July, Frontier Airlines will initiate flights to link San Jose to Denver and San Diego. In August, the air carrier will launch flights connecting San Jose with Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

“As we look forward to a strong summer travel season, we are thrilled to launch these nonstop routes from San Jose,” said Josh Flyr, Frontier Airlines’ vice president of network and operations.

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