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.
• • •
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information, six days a week
LOCAL RESTAURANTS: The updated database of Tampa Bay restaurants open for dine-in or takeout
UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits
BRIGHT SPOTS IN DARK TIMES: The world is hard right now, but there’s still good news out there
LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters
HAVE YOU LOST SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO COVID-19?: Help us remember them
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.