NewsLocal News


NFTA: Air travel in Buffalo still down 80%

Posted at 6:01 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 18:01:59-05

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Many Americans are feeling the need to travel, after nearly a year at home.

“I feel very safe,” said Dawn Schoenhals, who flew out of Buffalo Wednesday.

Many have similar stories. Some are visiting loved ones after an extended period of time apart, others are flying out of the state for work, and some just need a vacation.

“We’ve been hearing very positive feedback from our travelers,” said Helen Tederous, Spokesperson for the NFTA.

Tederous says air travel in Buffalo did see a slight uptick during President’s Day week, when many students were on vacation, but says the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not expected to see an increased amount of travelers for spring break, as some other parts of the country are.

In Buffalo, air travel is still down 80% from what it usually is, the NFTA says. Experts say that’s not going to change until the U.S. Canada border is back open.

Tederous says about 30% of all travelers out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport are from Canada.

“That’s significant for us,” she said.

“Tourism is always the first to be hit in time of crisis, but always the first to rebound,” said John Percy with Niagara Falls USA.

Percy says even if air travel is down, he’s expecting a jump in visitors to Niagara County based on the proximity to many areas by vehicle.

Percy says the first glimmer of hope came President’s weekend and Valentine’s Day weekend.

“Our hotels were 75% occupied,” he said.

Percy says he’s hopeful with vaccinations and the decline in COVID-19 numbers, tourism numbers will continue to rise.

“We anticipate a return of 60-70% of 2019 numbers,” he said.

New York’s travel quarantine rules are still in effect. If you are out of the state for more than 24 hours, you are required to quarantine for 10 days unless you test out of quarantine within three days.