The coronavirus pandemic has virtually grounded the nation’s aviation industry, including North America’s top airport. Indianapolis International Airport says passenger traffic is currently running at about 4% of normal activity.
“This event, COVID-19, is transformational for our entire industry,” said Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “As we transition into what our new reality is going to be, we’ve been planning, we’ve been preparing and we’ve been seeing different things that should occur in the industry and we’re getting ready for it.”
Rodriguez talked about the pandemic’s impact on the airport, the airline industry and what might be next on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been swift and severe.
Rodriguez said on a typical Wednesday, more than 14,000 passengers would pass through the airport’s security checkpoints. Last Wednesday that number was just over 400.
The Federal Aviation Administration has announced more than $96 million in grants for 65 Hoosier airports as part of a Trump administration plan to help airports affected by the coronavirus pay for fixed operating expenses, including payroll, utilities and debt services.
Indianapolis International will receive about $52 million of that amount, and while Rodriguez says the funding is welcome, it is far from a windfall.
“We generate our own dollars through fees for airlines, fees for concessionaires, parking and those revenues are non-existent right now,” said Rodriguez. “We’ve been very prudent and we’ve planned very well and we believe we are on solid footing, but we don’t know the future…nobody does.”