MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis International Airport is anticipating a busy travel week with Friday being one of their busiest since the pandemic started in March.
By the time Friday ends, Memphis International Airport expects that close to 5,000 travelers will have passed through to board a flight.
Because school is out for the next week, Friday morning saw several families headed out of Memphis, many heading to theme parks in Orlando, Florida.
It was also the first time many have stepped foot in an airport all year.
“It’s been a while, because you know the pandemic’s been having us in the house for a while,” said Demario Bridgeforth
Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications Glen Thomas says there are a few changes travelers can expect such as social distancing signs and masks.
“We’re a public building so we’re subject to the city’s face covering ordinance,” said Thomas. “Also, airlines are requiring masks in order to board.”
The airport took a big hit because of the pandemic. This fiscal year’s budget is reportedly $4.3 million less than the year before.
While Friday is expected to be a busy travel day - only topped by the Friday before Labor Day this year - it is still less than year’s past.
“The decline in passenger traffic has affected our restaurants, our retail shops and the airlines probably more than any other entity,” said Thomas.
Some restaurants and shops remain closed.
Thomas does state that no layoffs have been made, but the airport has also reported that vacant positions are not going to be filled.
Families traveling is a welcome sight. “Probably there’s a little bit more of a comfort level of traveling right now than there was a few months ago,” said Thomas.
MEM is anticipating close to a total of 25,000 passengers to travel through the airport over Fall Break.