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CIRA Thanksgiving Numbers Healthy – Considering

CIRA sign under blue sky

The Central Illinois Regional Airport continued to conform to national patterns in November, Deputy Director for Marketing Fran Strebing told Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority Board members on Tuesday.

Strebing said for the month, CIRA was down 58.3% in passenger enplanements compared with last November.

“TSA keeps track of the throughput nationwide and for that week of the Thanksgiving holiday, the system was 40% of last year. We are on the same level and same line as the rest of the country,” said Strebing.

She said November’s typical pattern was true last month as well, though the overall floor was lower than for a usual year. There were quiet passenger numbers the first couple weeks and then a rise for the week of Thanksgiving, said Strebing.

“We know that with the COVID uptick and the warnings to not travel it certainly had an impact,” said Strebing. “We will never be sure how many people changed or canceled plans. But we still saw strong numbers for the time on Allegiant, people still wanted to get to Florida, wanting to get to the sun and for the holiday.”

CIRA reported decent numbers on Delta with people wanting to visit friends and relatives.

“Our two traditional business carriers saw that leisure pick up also for the holiday,” said Strebing.

Fueling revenue was down for the month because airlines booked fewer flights. November cargo numbers were not available, Strebing said, because of the early December meeting date.

“We are holding our own and doing fairly well given the situation,” said Strebing.

She said January bookings look weak, though the airlines still have some hope for December. She said bookings on the Detroit route are low, though the airline expected the business route would not get a lot of business traffic right now.

"Detroit is a gateway to the northeast," said Strebing. "The northeast is not accepting too many visitors right now."

For the first 11 months of the year, CIRA is down 56.9% in enplanements and 56.5% in total passengers.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.