Holiday travel at Dayton International Airport shining light on airport’s pandemic rebound

DAYTON — One of the busiest travel days of the year is putting a spotlight on air travel and its impact on the economy.

While the Dayton International Airport is seeing an uptick in travel the day before Thanksgiving, city leaders said the airport has been seeing a nice recovery from the worst part of the pandemic.

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News Center 7′s Mike Campbell was at Dayton International Airport on Wednesday when plenty of people were prepared to travel to catch up with loved ones. Darryl Monfels, of Dayton, did fly a little during the COVID-19 pandemic, but feels safer to do so now.

“Each time we feel like the restrictions and requirements, and attention to detail, has gotten much better, especially in the last three to four months,” Monfels said.

The more travelers feel safer has impacted the amount of flying they do. The passenger numbers, and revenue, at Dayton International Airport recovered much quicker than expected, according to city officials.

“They are expected to be about 12 percent off of 2019 revenues, so that’s good news,” Shelley Dickstein, Dayton City Manager, said.

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Dickstein said the rebound is amazing when compared to the original projections.

“We were 80 percent off,” Dickstein said. “This was an industry that almost completely shut down for a good chunk of time.”

Dickstein said a lot of Dayton travel returning to 100 percent will depend on business travelers returning to airports for travel.

While the number of travelers is up, it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. City leaders told News Center 7 that they will wait and assess the numbers throughout 2022 to determine whether they will reach that level again.