San Jose International Airport Post-COVID Rebound Loses More Altitude

May 29, 2024

May 29—SAN JOSE — San Jose International Airport has lost more altitude in its increasingly elusive quest to regain the passenger trip activity that vanished due to the economic maladies unleashed by the coronavirus.

So far in 2024, the South Bay aviation hub has stumbled into a pattern of weakness as measured by the number of passengers the airport handles compared with prior periods.

For each of the first four months of this year, San Jose Airport's passenger activity fell short of the total for the same month the year before.

In April, San Jose International Airport accommodated approximately 966,300 passengers. The April total was 5% below the passenger numbers reported for April 2023, a new report from the aviation hub shows.

The disquieting result for April follows the pattern for the other three months of 2024 for San Jose Airport.

Compared with the same month in 2023, the January 2024 passenger total was down 1.6%, February 2024 was down 0.2% and March 2024 was down 3.6%. That means the April 2024 monthly total represented the biggest year-to-year shortfall.

Ominously, the South Bay air travel complex remains far short of regaining the lofty altitudes to which it had soared in 2019, the final year before state and local government agencies launched wide-ranging business lockdowns to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Even worse, the South Bay aviation hub appears to be losing ground in that effort to return to the pro-COVID number in 2019 of 15.65 million passengers, which was an all-time high.

In 2023, San Jose Airport accommodated 12.1 million passengers, down 22.7% from 2019's total.

However, over the 12 months ending in April, the South Bay travel complex handled just under 12 million passengers, down 23% from 2019.

San Jose isn't alone among the Bay Area's three primary airports in failing to reclaim pre-COVID heights.

In 2023, San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport handled 11.24 million passengers, 16% below 2019's total.

Oakland Airport is making a tiny amount of progress, however. Over the one-year period that ended in March, the East Bay travel complex handled 11.27 million passengers, down 15.8% from 2019.

San Francisco International Airport is also making a small amount of progress.

In 2023, SFO handled 50.17 million passengers, which was 12.7% below the 57.49 million passengers who transited through the airport in 2019. Over the 12 months that ended in April 2024, SFO accommodated 51.14 million passengers, down 11.1% from 2019.

San Jose International Airport officials hope the arrival of the summer travel season, which kicked off with the Memorial Day weekend, will provide a tailwind for the aviation hub and lift its fortunes.

Frontier Airlines, a low-cost carrier, recently announced plans for 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.


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