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State of 208: How COVID-19 impacts BOI travel and expansion

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 10:12:46-04

BOISE, Idaho — When COVID-19 hit Idaho in mid-March, the Boise Airport was experiencing very strong travel numbers and had a very ambitious expansion plan ready to roll.

But like everything else, it came to a screeching halt.

Airport spokesperson Sean Briggs reflects on those early days of the pandemic. "I wouldn't say it was eerie, but it was very different, it is something we have not witnessed before, just because how long we saw limited crowds in the Boise Airport."

As a matter of fact, the airport saw a 95 percent decline in passengers for the month of April, but that didn't stop the job of getting people from point A to point B.

Briggs explains, "so we did have a skeleton crew that did work there in our operations team, our maintenance team, our airport's service workers. We limited the number of shops and restaurants that were open so that reduced the number of employees that were working which also reduced the contact that could potentially happen with COVID-19."

So as the temperature began to rise in May and June, so did the number of flyers.

"The Boise Airport had 18 non-stop flights before the pandemic, we have 14 currently and in early July we expect to get back to Minneapolis as well as Spokane, and in August we expect to get service back to Houston and Sacramento."

And what about those big plans to expand the airport, an expansion based on demand over the last five years of record growth.

"We are growing much faster than the industry, so we knew it was time to add additional parking, we needed to add additional gates."

To see more on the capital improvement plan, just check out BOI upgrade. It's not known on how long we'll be dealing with the coronavirus, but once this is behind us, the Boise Airport will be ready to take off again.