After a year of pandemic turbulence, flyer number starting to take off at Clinton National


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — This week was spring break for many people in the Natural State, and the Bill and Hilary Clinton National Airport saw its biggest increase in customers since COVID-19 hit Arkansas.

Last year at the start of the pandemic, the airport saw a 93 percent drop in passengers. But in 2021, thousands of people are flying high out of Little Rock, with airport officials saying this week they’ve seen 2,900 outgoing passengers in one day.

“The week of spring break has been our busiest week since the start of the pandemic,” Shane Carter, the airport’s public affairs director, said, noting that they would maybe see 150 flyers a day when compare figures from April 2020.

Cater believes this trend is still taking off, and he expects to see even more travels soon.

“As more people became vaccinated, they would start to think about choices and air travel,” he added. “We are certainly ready when the traveler is ready.”

Last year, the airport averaged 13 people per flight. On Friday, some flights were fully booked, and it’s expected to get even busier.

Jared Powers and his son Live in Marshall, and Friday was his first time flying since the pandemic started.

“I’m pretty glad to be in the airport, I haven’t had to deal with the pandemic much,” Powers said. “It’s good, everything needs to get back to normal.”

Carter said as more people begin to travel, more flight options will become available.

“Airlines just don’t add flights. They add them because there’s a demand or expected demand,” he explained. “We’re continuing to see the number of flights increase.”

Carter said federal law will still require everyone flying and at the airport to wear a mask. He also said travelers should be sure to do research on the requirements for where they are traveling to as well before starting their trips.

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