Lehigh Valley airport had its busiest May in almost 20 years. What does it mean for air travel this summer?

Lehigh Valley airport had its busiest May in almost 20 years. What does it mean for air travel this summer?

An increase in passenger traffic at the airport has officials anticipating a busy summer travel season.

The lead into the summer peak is typical, according to Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director of the airport authority. It is something we have seen for a long time, and it is usually when people are traveling and taking vacations in the warm summer months.

It was unusual for us to see this larger increase in May.

The price of the Fourth of July cookout is going to go up.

Despite rising aviation fuel prices, pilot shortages and frequent cancellation of flights, LVIA and airports nationwide are seeing passenger traffic return to or eclipse pre-pandemic levels. Airport officials said that more than 83,500 passengers traveled through LVIA in May, the highest total since 2004. There were 76,400 passengers in May.

A passenger traffic increase of 43.5% was reported by Allegiant Air, which established an aircraft base at the airport in early 2020. United increased by 9.8%, but Delta activity decreased.

The International Air Transport Association announced in March that passenger numbers in North America will reach 94% of the levels of the previous year.

Willie Walsh, the association’s director general, said that people want to travel. They return to the skies once travel restrictions are lifted. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal state of affairs but the forecast for the evolution in passenger numbers gives good reason to be optimistic.

An analysis by the International Civil Aviation Organization showed a 65% increase in global air traffic from January to April 2022, while aircraft flight departures increased by 30%.

Industry experts have predicted for months that the travel season would see record-breaking numbers for both air and car travel.

Based on what we see from the airline industry and what they are reporting, there is a good chance for that. The challenge you are seeing is the fact that the travel has increased so quickly. In the midst of a pilot shortage, we have created some challenges across the country in terms of flight cancellation, and also planned schedule reductions.

There may be an increase in car travel over the Fourth of July holiday due to those canceled flights. 42 million people are expected to drive despite high gas prices, according to the agency.

There are fireworks and other events in the valley.

According to the agency, the number of people who will travel by air this year will be the lowest since 2011.

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With the recent challenges with flying, people may be looking for a level of comfort and flexibility that traveling by car can provide. You don’t have to abandon your vacation plans if destinations aren’t within driving distance. Travelers are advised to consider working with a travel agent who can help plan for the unexpected, like a flight cancellation. They are the best advocates.

Stoudt said that the pilot shortage has been ongoing, as some airlines reduced expenses during the Pandemic.

They are not back to the staffing levels that they had during the pre-pandemic years. You don’t have the staffing levels to match the demand at this point, so you have all of this demand. As we head into these peaks, the airlines are pulling back on their schedules a little bit, reducing some of those.

4th of July weekend travel will be a record breaker because of gas prices, according toAAA. The best times to travel are here.

Even though the Fourth of July holiday weekend hasn’t historically been a busy travel weekend for airports, demand is still high in spite of those challenges.

As travelers make summer vacation plans and consider traveling by air, LVIA officials said to expect heavy passenger volume through August, urging people to leave extra time to park, check-in, and reach the gate.

Stoudt said that it was important to give yourself plenty of time to travel. Given the nature of the demand and the activity levels that we are seeing this summer.

Molly Bilinski can be reached at mbilinski@mcall.com