CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi International Airport is ahead of the national average in regards to recovering from a decrease in travel due to COVID-19. That’s according to Assistant Director of Aviation Kevin Smith, who spoke in front of City Council Tuesday.
In fact, Smith said the plan is to have the airport nearly back to regular travel by early 2021.
“We’re about 21% flight activity below where we were last year. United is going to be adding back the rest of their flights in December, and Southwest will add one of their flights back in January. So, in January, we will only be down one flight from pre-COVID, so we’re really excited about that,” he said.
On top of returning to normal service, the airport hopes to add one or two more airlines over the next year or so.
“At some of the air service development meeting we’ve gone to recently, we’ve talked to airlines that don’t really know this market, and just sharing with them what Corpus Christi has to offer, and almost every one of them have been shocked with the growth and the opportunities here in Corpus Christi. We’re hoping to soon bring a new carrier to Corpus Christi, that’s the goal,” Smith said.
Along with added airlines, Smith said he hopes new destinations will be added as well. Areas along the east coast are targets, and Denver, CO is also a target.
“The great piece of information that Visit Corpus Christi gave us is there are 60,000 people driving from the Denver area to Corpus Christi every year. So, if we can take 20% of those people off the road and put them on a plane, those could really improve our numbers even more, so that’s what we’re really focusing on,” Smith said.
According to Smith, traveling in an airplane is actually a lower risk of contracting COVID-19 than doing an activity many people do weekly.
“It’s safer to fly on a plane than it is to go to a grocery store, that was in a study done by the Department of Defense, and has since been confirmed by several other entities,” he said. “Flying on planes is safer than going to the grocery store, because it filters the air every two minutes, and they’re cleaning those planes on every turn. So, when those planes land and everyone gets off, they’re spraying those planes down, and loading them back up.”