Air travel on the increase as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are easing

Airline travel is gaining numbers as restrictions are being lifted over the COVID-19 pandemic. More airliners can be seen approaching Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport where in the past few months, few airliners were seen in the skies above the city.

As a personal note, this reporter would often observe airlines approaching the city high from the west, then instead of flying lower for preparation to land at Will Rogers, the airliners would make a right hand turn and head south, apparently to Dallas-Fort Worth.

But in recent days, a few airlines were back to their standard lowering approach from the west. Obviously, the numbers are still low compared to January, February and early March.

“We have seen a slight uptick over the last couple of weeks of airlines returning flights since the beginning of the pandemic.  However, for May and June departures are still down about 60% over last May and June.  We are thinking July won’t be quite as bad,” said Karen Carney, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City airport.

The Transportation Security Administration reported new nationwide numbers reflect a fast-moving increase just in the past week. The higher numbers on the column reflect airline travel a year ago.

So on Monday, nearly 341,000 travelers went through security across the U.S. compared to 2.5 million one year earlier.


5/25/2020 340,769 2,512,237
5/24/2020 267,451 2,070,716
5/23/2020 253,190 2,124,825
5/22/2020 348,673 2,792,670
5/21/2020 318,449 2,673,635
5/20/2020 230,367 2,472,123
5/19/2020 190,477 2,312,727

(Click here to view more TSA numbers)

As for numbers at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport, they have not been made available.

Tulsa has been home to a large number of parked American Airlines planes since the start of the pandemic and the resulting plunge of air activity.

Tulsa International Airport saw a 95% drop in the number of passengers who deplaned and enplaned in April 2020. The airport’s website showed 10,671 passengers compared to 238,509 in April 2019. As for the calendar year-to-date, the number of passengers was 530,754 from January to April 2020 compared to 903,866 in 2019, a drop of more than 41%.

Total operations at Tulsa’s airport in April 2020 involved 3,757 different flights including cargo and military while April of 2019, the operations were 8,112, a decline of nearly 54%.

But operations so far this year have totaled 23,259 while a year ago, they were 30,279, representing a decline of 23%.

Click here to view the Tulsa Aviation Activity Report.


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