Passenger traffic at Sarasota Bradenton airport softened in July

·2 min read
Passenger traffic dropped by 13.4% at Sarasota Bradenton airport in July.
Passenger traffic dropped by 13.4% at Sarasota Bradenton airport in July.

As airlines canceled flights because of staffing shortages and high fuel costs this summer, passenger traffic at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has suffered.

The airport saw 283,125 passengers during the month of July, a 13.4% decrease compared to the same month in 2021. Last July, SRQ welcomed 326,947 passengers, which was a 122% increase over the pre-COVID July 2019 passenger traffic count of 147,068. 

Rick Piccolo, the airport's president and CEO, said that the dip is because of reduced airline schedules. Fuel costs, staffing shortages and threats of inflation and recession caused carriers to cut back on service this summer.

Read more: Breeze Airways announces service from Sarasota Bradenton airport to New York

Tourism officials have also said that the extreme pent-up travel demand the area experienced during COVID has started to taper off this summer.

"We expect to see additional flights added and passenger numbers return to our 2021 levels as the winter holiday season approaches," Piccolo said.

Despite economic concerns, however, year-to-date passenger traffic is well ahead of 2021. Through the end of July, 2,377,763 passengers have traveled through the airport, compared to 1,786,638 in the first seven months of 2021.

SRQ had its busiest year ever in 2021, with more than 3 million passengers traveling through its facilities.

To deal with its overall growth, the airport is working on several major capital improvement projects, including a new five-gate terminal, baggage handling system, ground transportation facility, cell phone lot and more parking lots.

"These projects will allow SRQ to continue to grow and prosper while maintaining the great customer experience that travelers expect when using their hometown airport," Piccolo said.

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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: SRQ passenger traffic lighter in July due to canceled flights