Airports anticipate more traffic during holiday season

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LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — As the holidays are well underway, people are hitting the roads and taking to the skies to be with their loved ones for the holidays. For one local airport, things are starting to look like normal.

Around this time last year, the holidays were filled with mask mandates and travel restrictions. Leaving smaller regional airports like the Greenbrier Valley Regional Airport emptier than normal.

Throughout this year, the airport saw the number of travelers rise and fall, peaking in the spring and summer then dying down in the fall.

However, if Thanksgiving was any indication, Airport Director Brian Belcher, believes the rest of the year will bring an uptick in at least one type of traveler:

“On the leisure travel side it was very strong, business traffic has come back slower than leisure, but as you get into the holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, both West Virginia and Marshall playing in bowl games, we do see that traffic,” said Belcher.

While Belcher expects to see a steady flow of travelers this holiday season, the question becomes whether there are pilots to fly the planes.

“Around the nation, you see there is a pilot shortage out there right now so the airlines have not been able to fly all the schedules they want to fly and I hope that is something they correct, that is something that is being worked on nationally,” said Belcher.

Being a smaller airport, Belcher believes the lack of crowds could be the deciding factor over flying out from a larger airport. He added even with new variants popping up, the airport has not seen any restrictions in travel or staff.

“I have seen flight restrictions internationally, so that might cut down on international travel, but domestically so far it has not, and we have our fingers crossed that can go away or be diminished somehow,” said Belcher.

Belcher said as long as you wear a mask in the airport and on the plane, flying should be safe this holiday season.

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