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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted University Park Airport

by on September 21, 2020 5:00 AM

By Grace Bradley | Centre County Report. This video is produced by and for Centre County Report and is shared through a partnership with

The airline industry has been hard hit by COVID-19. After travel in the United States was largely shut down in March, small and large airports that would normally be busy with passengers were desolate.

With a fear of traveling and many states on lockdown, airlines at University Park Airport saw low numbers in passengers. As an airline that relies heavily on Penn State students, alumni and sports teams, much of the passenger traffic was gone after Penn State shut down for the rest of the spring semester and sports were canceled.

"It really bottomed out in April when we only had 465 passengers board aircraft for the month," said Bryan Rodgers, University Park Airport director. "You compare that to where we were in 2019 when we averaged a little over 3,700 passengers a week that would depart on commercial airline service aircraft. It dropped off dramatically."

This isn't the first time that the airport has taken a significant hit.

"There's similar situations in terms of how it's impacted airports across the country — 9/11, you had the recession of 2007-08, and then you now have COVID," Rodgers said.

At the beginning of the pandemic University Park Airport was down 95% in business. Currently, it's down 75%. 

There has been a slow rise in passenger traffic in recent months, a good sign for University Park Airport. However, it could still take three to five years for it to recover from the pandemic. 

In April, the airport received more than $2.3 million in CARES Act funding to support continuing operations and replace lost revenue during the pandemic. 

The Centre County Report is produced by students and faculty from Penn State's College of Communications. It is designed to serve a dual purpose. It is a source of news and information to the residents of Centre County.
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