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The Houston Airport System (HAS) handled 2.1 million passengers in November ’20, a 55.5 percent decline from the 4.8 million passengers handled during November ’19. Though a drop from last year’s volume, November reflects an increase in air travel since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global pandemic continues to depress passenger traffic. Consumers are choosing to stay home or drive to their destination to minimize exposure to the virus. The increase in traffic is with weekend flights, which tend to be leisure travel, and not weekday flights, which tend to be corporate travel. The Thanksgiving holiday was also a likely factor in boosting November’s passenger count. Traffic is expected to pick up in ’21 as COVID-19 vaccinations and testing becomes more widely available, and as domestic and foreign-flag carriers restore service.
HAS handled 27.6 million passengers in the 12 months ending November ’20, a 53.5 percent decrease from the 59.4 million handled over the same period in ’19.
The 12-month totals will continue to decline as fewer pre-COVID months are included in the count and as consumers 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
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
HAS handled 2.14 million passengers in November ’20.
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