The Delta variant is surging, and COVID-19 cases in Florida are rising. But by at least one metric, the ongoing pandemic hasn’t kept travelers at bay.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport had its biggest traffic month ever in July, according to figures released Friday, with 262,681 passengers flying to and from Pinellas County. That’s a 90 percent increase over pandemic-hobbled June 2020, and a 7 percent increase over June 2019, the previous record-holding month with 246,223.
The increase can be partly chalked up to another airport record. Additions of nonstop routes to cities like Portsmouth, N.H., Fargo, N.D., and Little Rock, Ark., brought the airport’s total number of routes to 64, an all-time high.
The record-setting month follows the airport’s best-ever June, which saw 239,001 passengers. On the whole, traffic for the first seven months of 2021 is up 40 percent over the same period in 2020, though it remains 15.5 percent below 2019.
Tampa International Airport’s traffic in June, the latest month for which data is available, is still lagging behind 2019 levels, at 1.7 million compared to just over 1.8 million. But that airport is also bullish on a faster-than-expected path to recovery, as its proposed fiscal 2022 budget projects record revenues of $283.1 million.