GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Fewer travelers are flying this year at Gerald R Ford International Airport (GRR). The airport screened 2,799 passengers yesterday and expect 3,100 Thanksgiving day.
The numbers represent around a 50% decrease in passengers compared to last year and are the lowest holiday travel numbers the airport has seen to date.
"Typically we see around 7,000 passengers coming through the building," Chief Operating Officer, Alexander Peric, said, adding that he believes numbers will remain low throughout the rest of the year.
The decrease in traffic is largely attributed to CDC and MDHHS recommendations to limit travel over the holiday season. However, small groups in the airport on Wednesday said they were able to travel safely.
"It was really easy to get in and out, everybody was really nice and safe. Everybody wore masks," Stephanie Vandur, who flew in from Florida said.
Vandur, her husband and three children are visiting her father in Twin Lake.
"He's in his 60's, and he's alone for Thanksgiving so we brought the kids," Vandur said, adding she wasn't expecting an easy trip to the airport, "By listening to the news I thought it was going to be completely packed, but when we got into St. Pete airport it was clear. We were the only ones in line."
GRR has increased its sanitation protocols, using UV technology, electrostatic fogging, and sanitation stations throughout the facilities.
While airport traffic has decreased amid the pandemic, Peric said GRR's passenger count is still ranked around 10% higher than the national airport average.
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