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New numbers: Indianapolis International airport usage a fraction of pre-pandemic

Could be three years before back to normal
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Posted at 10:11 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 22:16:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The numbers are startling, yet not unexpected. And they tell us a great deal about how our way of life has dramatically changed in the last two months.

People are not flying.

According to the Executive Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, the number of travelers using Indianapolis International Airport has fallen to as few as 5% of normal operations on some days, as measured by the Transportation Security Administration.

Mario Rodriguez spoke today at Visit Indy's annual State of Tourism event, which was held virtually.

Before COVID-19 grounded most air travel, Indianapolis International served 53 destinations. That number is now down to 14.

By the time 2020 is over, Rodriguez expects total airport usage for the year to be 45% less than original estimates. Looking ahead, he is predicting air travel here in 2021 will be off 20%, and it may take three years for the airport to catch up to where is was before the pandemic.

Rodriguez says his forecasts for this year and next are based on what he knows today, which may or may not hold true, and his 30-years in the business.

In the near-term, there will be fewer non-stop flights and less international travel. Delta Airlines recently announced its Indianapolis to Paris non-stop would not return before at least early next year.

Airports, including Indianapolis, are receiving some financial help from the federal government. Indianapolis is getting about $52 million in federal aid.