Airport struggling as pandemic continues to take its toll

TSA beginning to see more traffic at security checkpoints

Brendan Keany
July 02, 2020 - 6:13 am

CHEEKTOWAGA (WBEN) - Near empty parking lots. No long ticketing or security lines. It is life at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport during the coronavirus pandemic.

"For people flying out, we're down 90% to 85%," said Kim Minkle, Executive Director of the NFTA Wednesday morning, as the Buffalo Airport is inching closer to a $65 million expansion project.

Of course, the culprit of the massive slowdown in the travel industry is the COVID-19 pandemic, and Minkle says the decline is obvious.

"It's been significant," she began. "If you take a look at our parking lots, you'll see that there's a lot of space, and they're mostly empty. We rely on parking to help support the airport - we were independent and self-sustaining - it actually brings economic value to the region, so in terms of parking, we're getting hit there."

Lisa Farbstein serves as the regional spokesperson for TSA, and she says there has been an uptick in airline travelers recently, but she added that the volume represents just a fraction of what they saw at this time last year.

"During the last few weeks, TSA has seen an [increase] in the number of passengers who are traveling - that's increased a bit," Farbstein said. "[Tuesday] we saw about 500,000 people who came through the security checkpoint - keep in mind that compares to 2.5 million passengers who came through the security checkpoint at this time last year."

Listen about some of TSA's guidelines for passengers below:

Minkle says they are doing everything in their power to ensure the safest experience for passengers at the Buffalo Airport.

"We've done incredible cleaning with our staff here in terms of sanitizing and disinfecting the airport on a regular basis," she said. "The Department of Health is here collecting the advisory questionnaires; we have signage up letting people know what the requirements are for self-quarantine, and we have it on our website as well."

Listen to Minkle's full comments below:

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