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Monthly Update: Aviation

August '20
Published on 10/15/20
Monthly Update: Aviation

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The Houston Airport System (HAS) handled 1.6 million passengers in August ’20, a 69.7 percent drop from the 5.1 million passengers handled during August ’19; nonetheless, August numbers are more than a fivefold increase from April’s 242,000 passengers. 

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to depress air travel. Consumers are choosing to either stay home or drive to their destination to minimize their exposure to the virus. The marginal increase in passenger traffic is coming from weekend flights, which tend to be leisure travel, and not during the week, which tends to be corporate travel. International traffic is expected to pick up as more domestic and foreign-flag carriers restore overseas service. The expansion of Southwest Airlines service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in the first half of ’21 will likely contribute to an uptick in traffic as well. 

HAS handled 35.9 million passengers in the 12 months ending August ’20. That’s a 39.4 percent decrease from the 59.3 million handled over the same period in ’19. 

  • The 12-month international passenger volume totaled 6.6 million, down 44.3 percent from 11.8 million in the preceding 12 months. 
  • Domestic volume totaled 29.3 million, a 38.2 percent decrease from 47.5 million.

The 12-month totals will continue to decline as both business and leisure travelers remain reluctant to resume air travel.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global trade group representing most of the world’s major airlines and cargo carriers, doesn’t expect the industry to recover before ’24.


Prepared by Greater Houston Partnership Research

Heather Duran
Manager, Research

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research

Airports Key Economic Indicators

HAS handled 1.56 million passengers in August ’20.

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