New federal data show Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is beginning to see some traction and making progress in its efforts to dig out of the pandemic-caused meltdown in air transportation.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports that passenger originations at Reagan National were down 68.9 percent in March compared to the pre-pandemic March 2019.
In a way, that’s positive news – Reagan National typically has been down 80 percent even as airports in other parts of the country have started to see rebounds.
(TSA going forward likely now be using figures from 2019 for comparison to 2021, in order to better compare the current situation to a more normal year than 2020 proved to be.)
The trade group Airlines for America each month uses TSA data to analyze air traffic on a state-by-state basis; for purposes of the evaluation, Reagan National is counted as (the lone) District of Columbia airport, while Washington Dulles International Airport is included in Virginia.
As has been the case for several months, the figures show a rebound in domestic travel, especially to areas where economic lockdowns are more limited. Year-over-year passenger counts are down less than 20 percent in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, and down less than 40 percent in states like Texas, Florida and Utah.
By contrast, passenger origination for March was down more than 60 percent in New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California.
In Virginia, passenger originations in March were down 49.1 percent from two year before; in Maryland, the decline was 48.8 percent.