Dayton airport sees uptick in travel as region inches toward normal

DAYTON — One clear sign the pandemic is still here is masks are still required in the terminal at Dayton International Airport, but in another sign the region is inching closer to normal is that air travel is trending up after a big dip last year.

Over the last five to six months, Dayton International officials said they’ve seen anywhere from 50 to 60 percent less travel volume than they saw during the same stretches in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

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But, those numbers are starting to go up.

“Certainly spring break has certainly played a big part of that. And hopefully with the vaccines going out, people are feeling a little more safe. But we still have to be mindful and wear our mask and continue our social distancing. But we are seeing a bit of an uptick and that’s a great thing,” said Linda Hughes, spokeswoman for the Dayton International Airport.

A flyer News Center 7 spoke to today said the guidelines in place make her feel OK to visit her daughter in Florida.

“She lives in Boynton Beach,” said Tanya Carey. “I feel comfortable. As long as we follow the guidelines that are given to us, I feel very comfortable.”

New guidance released in recent days by the Centers for Disease control said fully-vaccinated people can travel safely in the United States again. They also don’t need a COVID-19 test before or after their trip, which is a change from the holiday season. Self-quarantining after a trip is something the CDC says doesn’t need to happen either if you’ve had your shot.

The CDC is urging Americans to hold off on International travel until they’re fully vaccinated, which is two weeks after the final dose of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

Masks and social distancing on planes and public transit remains important, the CDC said, as does washing your hands and using hand sanitizer during travel.

Carey said she’s fully vaccinated and says travel is a personal risk-reward decision.

“You have to be feel good with what you’re doing yourself. And I don’t think you can determine what someone else needs to do. So I think in my case I feel very healthy, I’m vaccinated. I feel comfortable flying and looking forward to it,” she said.

Data from the TSA shows travel also is up nationally. Last Friday, the agency screened more than 1.5 million people at security checkpoints across the country. It’s the highest daily total since March 12 last year, right before the pandemic shuttered much of the county.