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St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport sees passenger counts rise in May

In May, the airport saw 61 percent fewer passengers than in the same month a year ago. That’s an improvement over April’s 97 percent loss.

CLEARWATER — St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport saw 78,506 passengers in May — more than in April when most flights were canceled, but still 61 percent below the same month last year.

Outbound passengers slightly outnumbered those flying in. In April, typically a busy month driven by spring break visitors, airport traffic dropped 97 percent to just 5,799 passengers for the entire month — the fewest in more than 15 years and lower than at any time during the Great Recession.

By comparison, during 2019 the airport saw 205,821 passengers in April and 199,589 in May.

The airport said Sunwing Airlines’ seasonal service to Halifax and Toronto, Canada is expected to resume in the fall. Sun Country’s charter flights to the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss., are expected to resume this summer.

As it waits for air travel to return, the airport, a department of Pinellas County government, plans to use an $8.7 million pandemic relief grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to cover payroll costs for its 59 full-time employees.

The airport had a record 2.3 million passengers last year, following a decade when passenger traffic almost doubled.

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