SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been a turbulent stretch for airports across the nation since the pandemic began.
But with the increased availability of the vaccine, spring break and a growing desire to get away it appears as though things are finally starting to take off.
After a year of below average travel, numbers things are finally starting to look up.
“It’s pretty busy and a lot of it is inbound, you know, a lot of people coming here for their Spring Breaks,” says the airport’s director of marketing and air service development.
For many people, a getaway has been a long time coming.
“We actually were supposed to be here last year during this time,” says traveler Tessa Atrous. “We had to reschedule due to COVID.”
Travelers are taking to the skies, some with an added dose of confidence. For some it offered a chance to get out.
For others, a chance to get back to those they love.
“We’re heading to Dulles Airport to see our grandson,” said Bill Wagner.
But no matter the reason, it provides confidence for the airport going forward.
“It makes us feel good about how the rest of the month is going to be, then April and then of course, we feel really good about the summer,” Lynah says. “I think we’re going to have a great summer.”
But despite moving in a good direction, Lynah feels it will still take a bit longer to get back to their pre pandemic numbers.
“I don’t think we’ll be back to our previous levels until maybe 2022 for sure,” she says. “But we’re going to come in pretty strong this year to catch up.”
The airport is counting on a strong finish and some strong reviews from these springtime travelers.
“The azaleas were absolutely stunning, the trees, the houses,” says traveler Holly Mote. “We were just so impressed by the city.”
“I mean look at this tan I got going here. Hey, great time out here,” says Dominic Alfieri. “I can’t say anything else, but I got to come back. That’s all I got to say.”
Another positive sign for the future at the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport is more flight routes going into operation soon. Silver Airways will begin flights this Thursday going to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) announced federal COVID-19 grants for the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.
The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport will receive $4,987,807.00 in economic relief funds for costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, debt service payments, and combating the spread of pathogens at the airport. The Savannah airport will also receive $312,985.00 to assist with rent relief for concessions at the airport that have been devastated by the pandemic. The Brunswick Golden Isles Airport will receive $1,013,837.00 in economic relief funds for costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, debt service payments, and combating the spread of pathogens at the airport. The Brunswick airport will also receive $8,723.00 to assist with rent relief for concessions at the airport that have been devastated by the pandemic.
Our airports and the vendors in the airports have suffered tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rep. Carter said. “This funding is critical to make sure these economic engines in the First District can continue to operate and in a safe manner. This funding will also help the concessions at the airports who have faced tremendous losses due to the loss of passengers at the airports during the pandemic.”