Passenger traffic at Oakland Airport up more than 100 percent in June, but may weaken again

Passenger traffic in June at Oakland International Airport was up more than 100 percent compared with May, but demand for air travel nationwide is again showing signs of weakening, airport officials said Friday.

The number flyers jumped 141 percent in June to about 255,000, compared with about 106,000 in May. While the increase was a good sign, the June total was still only 21 percent of a year ago, according to airport officials.

The lowest total so far during the pandemic has been in April, when the airport saw only 4 percent of its normal number of passengers. That number increased to 9 percent in May.

“While the June statistics are an improvement over what we experienced in April and May, activity remains far below where it should be for the historically busy summer travel season,” said Director of Aviation Bryant Francis, in a statement.

“Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases within California and nationally, we remain concerned about the fragility of the air travel market. We remain committed to doing our part in providing a positive air travel experience through enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols,” Francis said.

In July, several airlines, including Southwest, Spirit and Alaska, added flights following months of reductions related to the pandemic.

But Hawaiian Airline’s plans to restart daily flights to Honolulu were postponed because Hawaii has delayed its plan to reopen its tourism economy. Traveler’s to that state must quarantine for 14 days, a requirement that may be in effect until Sept. 1 and possibly longer.

Southwest Airlines’ plans to increase its number of flights in August at Oakland International Airport have stalled because demand for flights appears to be flagging again.

Southwest flew more than 75 peak-day flights in July from Oakland and were going to increase that to 90 in August or about 75 percent of its schedule for summer 2019.

Airport officials said passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines for guidance for travel during the pandemic. Passengers are encouraged to have a face covering on when they arrive at the airport.

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