The Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic U.S. Air Travel Operations and Commercial Airport Service

COVID-19 has brought the air transportation sector to a standstill. The purpose of this study is to assess COVID-19’s impact on domestic U.S. air travel operations and commercial airport service in light of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which offered financial assistance to air carriers and put in place requirements to maintain service to domestic cities served pre-pandemic. This study is based on air traffic data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Findings show that performed departures decreased by 71.5% in May 2020 compared to May 2019. The number of domestic U.S. markets served between commercial airports decreased by 32.1% during the same time as airlines modified their networks. Domestic air service reductions were not uniform. Airlines decreased their departure operations at larger airports more than at non-primary airports (73.7% versus 39.2%). Additionally, larger origin airports experienced a greater decline in domestic U.S. markets served compared to non-primary (35.2% versus 10.8%). Markets served by airports in multi-airport cities decreased more than airports in single-airport cities (38.5% versus 15.8%). These trends provide insight into how airlines’ responses to the pandemic have impacted service at U.S. airports, even with CARES Act regulations in place.


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  • Accession Number: 01764526
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 12 2020 3:06PM