CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With more than a thousand people coming through the Corpus Christi International Airport’s terminal this past Friday, officials describe March 5 as the single-busiest day at CCIA since the start of the pandemic last year.
The fact that the airport was able to outperform peak traffic days from Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2020 comes as COVID-19 vaccines are more consistently distributed — and as Texas governor Greg Abbott puts an end to the state’s virus-related restrictions Wednesday.
In a news release by the city of Corpus Christi on Tuesday, they state that the milestone is another indicator that CCIA is on track to recover from the pandemic “faster than other airports in Texas and the nation.”
“From the number of flights returning to the market, to advanced bookings and customer preference for CCIA, there is reason for a lot of optimism heading in to the second quarter of 2021,” Kevin Smith, CCIA’s director of aviation, said in the release.
The city said levels remained high through the rest of the March 6 weekend.
By the numbers
Compared to March of 2019, the city said the amount of flights offered at CCIA is down 17 percent. While that’s almost a fifth, the city compares those numbers to cities like Austin and San Antonio, which are down 36 and 44 percent respectively. Nationwide, the city states that flights are down by 35 percent.
For bookings in advance, CCIA again beat the national average. CCIA provided data from their last week of February 2021 — down only 27 percent compared to the country’s average — 60 percent.
“So, while there are still fewer people flying out of CCIA than there were before the pandemic, this airport is recovering more quickly,” Smith said. “As travelers return, we’re seeing the numbers reflected in our parking lot, restaurants and in other concessions like the news and gift shop and the rental car companies.”
The city said the preference for CCIA is rising.
“Last month, 73 percent of Coastal Bend travelers who got on airplanes did so right here at CCIA,” the release stated. “Last year in February, only 57 percent of the local market chose to fly CCIA while the other 43 percent drove to airports in San Antonio and Houston to begin their trips.”