United Group Insurance

Iowa airports face uncertain future under pandemic, passenger #s still very low


September 16th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Airports are among the many economic victims of the pandemic and while federal relief is helping, changes may come to smaller cities. After falling to just five-percent of normal passenger traffic in April, the Des Moines airport has seen a steady increase, though the numbers remain low. Executive director Kevin Foley says the airport and airlines are working to ensure safety from the coronavirus, but many people are still uncomfortable flying and some vacation spots remain closed.

Foley says, “I had hoped, and still hope, that maybe we could end the year at 50-percent of normal traffic.” Foley says federal CARES Act money is helping keep the airport afloat and fully functional. “Des Moines received $23 million that we can draw against, and we are,” Foley says, “and that’s going to get us through the first quarter of 2021.” At the moment, he says no airlines are pulling out of Des Moines, but other airports are facing steeper challenges.

American Airlines wants to stop flights to Sioux City, though United may fill that void. American also plans to stop flying to Dubuque during October and it’s not clear whether those flights will resume.