Des Moines Airport passenger count down nearly 60 percent in 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines International Airport blames with COVID-19 pandemic for cutting passenger traffic in 2020 by nearly 60 percent from the year before.

"We're down by 56 percent of that passenger traffic. That shakes out to a little more than 1.6 million people that weren't coming through the airport in 2020" says airport spokesperson Kayla Kovarna.

Kovarna says their loss of passenger traffic in 2020 shouldn't effect airport operations in 2021.

"We've been fortunate that we haven't had to lay off any staff, and are fully operations. We run a really lean ship around here, so just being mindful, being conservative with our spending" she says.

She also says the airport got an infusion of federal stimulus money from the CARES Act, and plans to get another $3 million from the latest round of relief legislation.

Kovarna says they're optimistic they'll see more travel to and from Des Moines International Airport in 2021.

"We're really hopeful we can reach that 70 to 75 percent of 2019's passenger traffic by the end of 2021. However, that's really going to depend on a COVID-19 vaccine and how things roll out" she says.

She says their weekly and monthly tracking of passengers means 2020's final count didn't come as a surprise, and was actually a little better than the national average for other airports.

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