Air travel increasing in Lexington after year of decline

Your baggage is checked, your flight is on time and you pass through security.

“Getting back to normalcy,” said traveler Martin Grubb.

Any other Sunday, in any other year, this would seem like an extremely empty airport.

“Before I would do a typical two hours at the airport. One of my crews would drop me off and now I’m here maybe 45 minutes. So that should say something,” said traveler Dylan Cockett.

But a year into the pandemic, and air travel is starting to pick back up.

“I suspect we’re going to have a pretty robust summer for June, July and August. I think a lot of the unknown for us is what happens when the vacation travel is done and the kids go back to school,” said Blue Grass Airport Executive Director Eric Frankl.

Frankl said there was a large surge in air travel the past seven days alone.

“Before when COVID first hit, it was a ghost town here. As soon as we started getting the vaccine, still wearing the masks and the proper PPE, we started seeing a lot more travelers,” Grubb said.

Traveling for work almost monthly, Grubb said airports are still noticeably empty, but says there have been more travelers in the last couple of weeks.

“Obviously for my day to day, it is convenient. For the economy as a whole, I’m very concerned.”

Traveling weekly for work, Dylan Cockett said as it becomes safer for to do so, he hopes Frankl is right….and air travel will continue to increase over the summer.

But for now, on a slow Sunday afternoon at the Blue Grass Airport…people and their furry companions were traveling once again. Some for work, some for vacation, some leaving family they hadn’t seen in a while. The tearful goodbyes a good sign.

“That people are actually enjoying life again,” said Grubb.

Over the last two weeks, nation-wide, daily passengers have topped two million.

The CDC does still recommend you delay travel, even if you are vaccinated. They recommend if you do travel, you should get tested three to five days before your trip. And self-quarantine a full seven days after you return, 10 days if you do not get a COVID test.

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