We would like to thank all who have flown out of Flagstaff Pulliam Airport this year. When we look back to last year, we hit a record number of patrons who flew in and out of the airport and found ourselves cramped with parking, lobby space and, at times, with ramp space. These were good problems to have, because we can fix these concerns.
This year has had a different set of obstacles, as the airline industry, among others, was faced with COVID-19. Not only did the airports come to a complete halt, so did our community. The public has been concerned about a different type of safety, which has brought about new ways to provide services.
As you can imagine, air service was hit hard, like everywhere else. In April 2020, we saw a 96% drop in the number of passengers from last year. Routes, and the frequency of routes, declined in every airport in the country. Throughout this time, our airlines have continued to fly in and out of Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and for that, we are thankful. Each air carrier has taken on new cleaning/sanitizing procedures in the airplane as well as in their public access areas. Face masks are required to fly, plastic protection screens have been installed, and hand sanitizer is available to the public. This was for both the public as well as employees. During these changes, airlines and airports are struggling with costs, staffing and keeping up with expanded safety procedures.
Additional changes at the airport include construction of our second parking lot, which has been delayed because of federal requirements, but it is still going to be built. Our lobby also saw a change in the way baggage is checked, removing it from the lobby itself. Our ramp, although currently not as full, is in long-range planning for expansion. More people are flying once again, but we are still far from the numbers we had expected this year. When you do choose to return to flying, please remember to bring a mask, wash your hands and be kind to those serving you. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport is open for business and working with the airlines to increase frequency as well as new destinations.
Thank you for always choosing to “Fly Flagstaff First.” FBN
By Barney Helmick
Barney Helmick is the airport director with the City of Flagstaff.