Jacksonville airport officials hope recent rise in air travel will continue through holidays

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Officials at Jacksonville’s' airport are hoping a recent increase in air travel will continue through the holiday season.

Airlines are anticipating a spike in travel as early as next month.

Jacksonville Aviation Authority Director Michael Stewart says 10,000 to 12,000 people were flying out of Jacksonville International Airport before the coronavirus pandemic, and that number dropped by 95% in the months of March through September, but now roughly 4,000 outbound passengers are traveling a day. 

Earlier this week, Transportation Security Administration officials announced more than 1 million Americans traveled in one day for the first time since the pandemic began. Airport officials are counting on holiday travel to generate more revenue for airlines and the airport.

″The good news is now we are looking at November. We thought we were just going to be looking at around Thanksgiving," Stewart said. “But it seems like the entire month of November, the seat counts are up. We won’t know exactly the number of travelers until we get closer.”

Restaurants, gift shops and other stores are also beginning to open up again in the airport. The $200 million project to construct an additional concourse at the airport remains on hold.

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