Air travel at LVIA nears normal pre-COVID-19 level

Lehigh Valley International Airport is inching back to normal passenger traffic levels as people begin to fly again following the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority said 88,528 passengers used the airport in June, which is close to the 89,609 passengers that used the airport in June 2019, before the pandemic.

Comparatively, only 78,851 passengers used the airport during the summer of 2020, June through August, and the number represents a 238.9% increase over June of last year.

“Energy within the terminal complex is palpable as you can sense the excitement from passengers to again be taking off for their family vacation or leisure getaway,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director of the LNAA. “The airport industry didn’t anticipate such a quick surge, but it’s a fantastic feeling to see the influx of travelers.”

Individually, Delta reported a massive passenger increase of 2,151%, United jumped 298%, Allegiant moved up 183% and American finished 118% ahead of last June.

Air cargo was also up over last year with 20,097,501 pounds processed through LVIA last month. That’s an increase of 32.4% from June 2020.

LVIA passenger traffic remains down, but cargo is the bright spot

Once again passenger traffic at Lehigh Valley International Airport is down over last year.

The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority is reporting a 61.6 % drop in traffic from Jan. 2020, which was right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The airport had 23,545 passengers use the airport in January 2021 compared to 61,309 in January 2022.

But with the pandemic nearly a year old and showing signs of easing in the coming months, the airport authority is looking at the downward trend to begin to turn around.

“We remain optimistic that a turnaround is on the horizon as 2021 progresses. Vaccinations and the enhanced safety protocols throughout the aviation system have built a foundation of trust with travelers. These two elements are instrumental in our return to normalcy for the industry,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director of the LNAA. “Airline capacity levels continue to increase at ABE, as popular nonstop routes are returning to multiple flights per day. For example, American has resumed service to Chicago-O’Hare, Delta will bring back its second daily flight to Atlanta, and United is scheduled to return service to Chicago in March. All of these decisions provide options for Lehigh Valley travelers.”

All of the airlines serving the airport saw a decline over the previous January. Delta reported a passenger traffic decrease of 66.5%, United dropped 66.3%, Allegiant declined by 59.4%, and American was down 58%.

As has been the trend since the pandemic drove a stronger demand for ecommerce, air cargo continued a dramatic increase at LVIA. A total 17,760,500 pounds of air cargo was processed through Lehigh Valley International Airport in January, a positive jump of 9.64% from Jan. 2020.

Passenger traffic doubles at LVIA, still off drastically from last year

With many COVID-19 restrictions lifted, residents of the Greater Lehigh Valley are travelling again. The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority reported that while passenger traffic remains drastically down from last year, it took a major jump in June over May’s numbers.

Last month, 26,123 passengers traveled through LVIA, a 70.8% decrease in traffic from June of 2019, but double the 13,017 passengers.

“Certainly this is positive news as people emerged from stay-at-home orders and decided to keep original summer travel plans,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director, LNAA.

Of the airlines that serve LVIA, Delta reported a passenger traffic decrease of 96% over June of last year, United dropped 80.4%, American 65.7%, and Allegiant declined by 57.2%.

“Most passenger traffic was focused on leisure destinations with Allegiant experiencing more activity, while the legacy carriers indicated more schedule changes are expected,” explained Stoudt.

Air cargo remained strong at the airport with 15.2 million pounds of air cargo processed in June – a jump of 5.4% from June 2019. With much of the cargo being pandemic-related, according to Stoudt, the numbers are dropping slightly.

June’s cargo numbers were lower than May when 21.4 million pounds of air cargo were processed at LVIA. That was an increase of 52.6% over May 2019.

Lehigh Valley to be featured in Delta in-flight magazine

Delta Air Lines will be featuring the Lehigh Valley in this month’s edition of its in-flight magazine, Delta Sky Magazine. (Submitted) –

The next time you’re flying out on a business trip, you might just find a little bit of home in the seat pocket in front of you.

Delta Air Lines will be featuring the Lehigh Valley in this month’s edition of its in-flight magazine, Delta Sky Magazine, giving the region exposure to around 6 million of its passengers, about half of whom are leading business professionals.

There will be a 26-page special focus section in the December edition of Delta Sky, which just happens to be the busiest month of the year for flying.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. pointed out that it’s quite an honor to be selected for such a feature.

“Only a handful of regions or cities are selected for this honor each year, with Lehigh Valley joining the ranks of such areas as Atlanta, St. Louis, Columbus, and Salt Lake City,” it stated in a release.

“It’s a major accomplishment for Lehigh Valley to be chosen for this feature in the most widely-read airline magazine in the country, an honor usually reserved for places that are household names,” said Don Cunningham, president & CEO of the LVEDC. “This clearly shows the Lehigh Valley is being recognized as one of the leading metropolitan areas of the United States. For a long time, we haven’t received the recognition we’ve deserved, but that is changing.”

The magazine feature was unveiled for the first time during a Dec. 3 launch party at Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Lehigh Valley was previously featured in a similar way by American Airlines. The region was the focus of a 24-page feature in American Way, the airline’s in-flight magazine. A PDF of that feature, called Spotlight Lehigh Valley, can be viewed here.

LVIA reports passenger growth continues

Lehigh Valley International Airport said it’s had consistent growth for 25 straight months now. It is reporting 77,794 passengers traveled through the airport in October, that’s an 11.56 percent increase over October of last year.

“ABE has already served over 760,000 passengers which equates to 16 percent growth year to date. We anticipate another busy holiday travel season and our staff is excited to ensure a comfortable environment for travelers using their neighborhood airport which includes the return of the holiday concert series featuring local schools and the festival of trees,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.

Of the airlines at the airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, American reported a passenger traffic increase of 28.7 percent, while Allegiant jumped 15.1 percent, and United was up 4.3 percent.  Delta posted a decline in traffic of 2.5 percent.

Stoudt said the growth in passenger traffic is expected to continue. He pointed to the addition of new flights to Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida early next year, Allegiant moving its crew base operation to the Airport in February and a $22 million TSA Checkpoint and Vertical Circulation improvement project being planned as potential contributors to future growth.

Airport says passenger travel up nearly 30 percent in April

With the start of summer travel season around the bend, Lehigh Valley International Airport reported a nearly 30 percent increase in passenger traffic in April compared to the same month last year.

Lehigh Valley International Airport reported a nearly 30 percent increase in passenger traffic last month. – File photo

The Hanover Township, Lehigh County-based airport has seen steady passenger increases each month for nearly two years.

Last month, 83,560 passengers traveled through the airport, a 27.28 percent increase from April 2018, according to the report. These figures mark the second-highest single-month total since 2011, the report said.

All four carriers reported increases. American Airlines reported a jump of 53.3 percent, followed by Allegiant up 25 percent, Delta up 17 percent and United Airlines up 4.3 percent.

A number of factors contributed to the increase, said Colin Riccobon, spokesperson for Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, the organization that owns and operates the airport.

“The twice-daily service to Chicago produced a lot of positive momentum, both leisure and business,” Riccobon said. The service, aboard American Airlines, started in April.

Spring break for college students and their families also contributed.

“We noticed a travel surge during spring break,” Riccobon said, adding that more growth is expected this summer. The airport considers June 1 through Aug. 31 its summer travel season, Riccobon said.

Airlines for America, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, expects a record number of travelers this summer. Its forecast shows 257.4 million people will travel on U.S. airlines this summer, a 3.4 percent increase over last summer.

Seasonal service to Nashville from LVIA began Friday.  In June, service starts to Savannah/Hilton Head aboard Allegiant, two more routes that could push passenger figures higher.
In anticipation, the airport authority recently repaved an overflow lot for employees that it will now use for additional passenger parking, Riccobon said.