Despite the pandemic, airplane passenger numbers are up in Rapid City
Tourism season and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brought August numbers back up to the tens of thousands.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The coronavirus put a stop to almost all travel earlier this Spring. But Rapid City Regional Airport continually saw its passenger numbers grow.
Since April, the airport’s passenger boarding numbers have been slowly growing. April saw an all-time low of 1,486 passengers but tourism season and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brought those numbers back up to the tens of thousands.
“It is down from where we were last year, still a considerable percentage, but when we looked at, I went through some of the national screening averages and many of the airports around the country are still down about 70% when you look at the daily screening rates that went through the month of August," said Patrick Dame, Rapid City Regional Airport executive director. "So, for us to be down where we’re at at the 50% mark, I’m feeling pretty good.”
August 2019 saw 41,804 passengers compared to only 24,962 in 2020. 2019 was a record-breaking year for the airport in terms of passenger loads and this year started out the same.
“So, we started off the first two months in 2020 as having a record January and a record February. Then March actually the numbers were pretty good but then April is when everything really fell," said Dame. "Our numbers fell hard. So, we were on track to what we think was going to be another great year.”
Dame said things will drop off again in the winter months like they normally would but hopes a potential COVID-19 vaccine and the holiday months brings in more passengers.
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