Like every airport across the nation, the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport is taking steps to protect passengers and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. On top of regular cleanings, the airport's janitorial staff is using hospital grade disinfectant to wipe down heavily touched areas such as hand rails, door handles and TSA screening check points. Airlines have also doubled up on aircraft cleaning frequency. While the SRQ airport has not seen specific domestic flight cancelations or suspensions, CEO Rick Piccolo is poised to respond to updated airline and CDC instructions.
"We don't have specific information from airlines yet, but we certainly have seen a decline in traffic," says Piccolo. The only airline that has reduced domestic flight frequency is Allegiant, with fewer flights from Knoxville and Indianapolis. "I think we will know more in the next week or two," says Piccolo.
Despite a slight drop off in passenger count over the last two weeks, Piccolo says that the airport's numbers still exceed those of March 2019. "We have been running at a 51 percent increase to the year prior every month so far," says Piccolo. "But that could change as we look to April and the summer months, and how the virus issue is rectified." Early morning flights have seen the biggest downturn, most likely due to lack of business travel.
The airport is ensuring employees and vendors are safe by practicing social distancing and limiting the number of large staff meetings. Passengers are also encouraged to practice good personal hygiene and bring their own hand sanitizer. If you are concerned about your travel plans and flight status, check with your airline. "We are not anticipating restrictions, but I think the marketplace will take care of restrictions itself," says Piccolo. "The landscape is changing every day."
For SRQ airport updates and advisories, click here or call (941) 359-2770 to reach the airport information line.