PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The Pensacola International Airport just announced its big partnership with Dulles International Airport providing connections to 16 destinations across the U.S.
While the airport has been growing rapidly over the years, COVID-19 has taken a toll on its business. In 2019, the PNS had one of its best years with over 2.2 million passengers. Despite COVID-19, they hope this new partnership will help the growth keep coming.
Airport Director of PNS Matt Coughlin says, “We are climbing back and we expect to exceed that in the future, when we get there we are not sure but we will get there eventually.”
In 2018 and 2019, the Pensacola International Airport saw a 16-percent growth. This is a huge increase because usually airports only see an annual three to five percent increase. However, COVID hit them hard this year.
Coughlin says, “It’s been a huge impact. It’s been a huge impact across our industry. Here locally we saw our numbers drop 92 percent in just a matter of a few weeks and that was devastating.”
Fortunately, with a strong administrative team, the airport has climbed to about 39-percent compared to what they were doing last year. Nationally, the industry is still down about 60-percent and with the new partnership they plan on coming back stronger than ever.
“Now we have 2 different airlines to serve two different airports in Washington D.C., giving the traveler even more flexibility. So now we have American Airlines going to National DCA and and now we have United that will be going to Dulles International,” says Coughlin.
Coughlin says he’s most excited to see what this will not only do for the airport but for the rapidly progressing city of Pensacola.
“I think it brings an added service to the community. I think it will be welcomed and it will be a great opportunity,” says Coughlin.
While they expect to see a lot of growth, their number one concern is to always keep their passengers as safe as possible.
The director adds he has had nothing but positive feedback from the community after making the big announcement.
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