CLEVELAND, Ohio – Just over 4.1 million passengers traveled through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 2020, a sharp year-over-year decrease due to the coronavirus pandemic that nearly brought global air traffic to a standstill.
Air travel in Cleveland – a 59% decrease in 2020 – performed marginally better through October than nationwide air travel, which fell 62% through October, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Travel experts believe it will be before US air travel resumes in mid-2021 as more Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it could take several years until 2023 or 2024 for air traffic to return to 2019 levels.
Cleveland Airport officials are forecasting passenger traffic between 5.2 and 6 million travelers in 2021.
The key to a full recovery is resuming business travel that has lagged behind vacation travel in the months since the pandemic.
In 2019 Cleveland Hopkins welcomed 10.04 million travelers, most of them in over a decade. 2020 should be another year of growth, with airlines Spirit, Frontier and United planning new routes from Cleveland.
However, in mid-March, global air traffic came to a standstill as COVID spread around the world.
Air traffic in Hopkins in 2020 Low point in AprilWith just 30,149 passengers, this is a decrease of more than 96% from April 2019. Since then, traffic has gradually improved with 333,526 passengers in December, a decrease of 59% from the previous year.
On the Sunday after Christmas, December 27, the Transportation Security Administration screened 10,369 departing Cleveland travelers – the highest daily number since March 13th.
TSA numbers nationwide on Wednesday were 70% less than last year.
It is unclear how Cleveland Hopkins and all airports will play out this year. This winter looks relatively bleak with home-stay recommendations currently in place in Cuyahoga County and elsewhere, and travel restrictions in place across the U.S. California, for example, is closed to all vacation travel, and New York has restrictions that exclude most travel to the state.
However, Florida remains a popular destination for Cleveland travelers as numerous airlines send hundreds of Hopkins passengers to the Sunshine State every day.
Cleveland Hopkins passenger traffic
2020: 4.1 million
2019: 10.04 million
2018: 9.64 million
2017: 9.14 million
2016: 8.42 million
2015: 8.10 million
2014: 7.61 million
2013: 9.07 million
2012: 9.01 million
2011: 9.18 million
2010: 9.49 million
Source: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport