The airport is cutting costs and increasing safety measures.
Following a 95% decline in passenger volumes because of COVID-19, Jacksonville International Airport is postponing its Concourse B expansion.
“The way things are going and the way they pick back up, we hope to get that program back on track, possibly as soon as three years from now,” said Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Mark VanLoh at a news conference June 2.
VanLoh said 52 JAA employees accepted a voluntary separation agreement, leaving the organization “a lot leaner.” Lights have been turned off in some parts of the terminal and indoor temperatures raised throughout the airport to lower costs, he said.
It is unlikely new routes will be added anytime soon, VanLoh said. Before the pandemic, the airport had been working to add flights to Europe.
“That’s basically off the table for now until we can get back to normal,” he said. “We are focused on getting the flights back that we had before the virus.”
The lowest point for weekly passengers was April 12-18, when the airport saw 2,478 passengers.
Its highest point was Feb. 16-22, when 65,286 passengers passed through the security checkpoint.
Since the start of May, the airport has seen a gradual increase in the number of passengers. The first week of May saw 4,012 passengers. May 17-23 had 10,305.
JAA announced JAX Airport Cares, a program designed to keep passengers healthy in the airport.
It closed economy surface lots to reduce the possible spread of the coronovirus on shuttles, added Plexiglas barriers throughout the airport, disinfected the building with electrostatic foggers, and increased fresh air in its building automated system.
“Aviation is one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” VanLoh said.
“Before people will travel again, they need to have confidence that airports, airlines and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) are doing everything we can to protect them.”