Turning the Corner: 2021 Annual State of the Airports Luncheon
Getting people back into the office and relaxing international travel restrictions are among the critical milestones needed to return ‘Back to Normal,’ according to MWAA CEO John Potter.
On Thursday, June 24, 2021, Committee for Dulles hosted the 2021 State of the Airports Luncheon with John Potter, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (WMAA). During the event, Potter provided key updates on matters ranging from the Airport Authority’s economic impact in the region, to the recovery efforts needed for life to return to pre-COVID normalcy levels.
Here are the main takeaways from the presentation:
Critical Milestones for ‘Back to Normal’
Key Leisure Travel Factors:
- Relaxing international travel restrictions.
- Local entertainment venues and cultural sites for tourism reopening.
- Assuring health/safety throughout journey.
Key Business Travel Factors:
- Getting people back into the office.
- Business and government leaders begin reauthorizing business travel.
- Improving economic indicators.
** All factors depend on getting COVID-19 under control globally **
The faster cities reopen, the faster passengers return.
- Dulles (IAD) and Reagan (DCA) passenger recovery in April 2021 vs. April 2019 was below the national average.
- IAD is at 44% passenger recovery, and DCA is at 43%. The national average in April was 58%.
The good news: Airports are now recovering.
- MWAA 2021 monthly passengers are now exceeding 2020 levels.
- May 2021 (preliminary) monthly passengers are up +589.9% compared to May 2020.
- May 2021 (preliminary) monthly passengers are still down -50.9% compared to May 2019.
- YTD May 2021 (preliminary) monthly passengers are down -21.6% vs YTD May 2020.
- YTD May 2021 (preliminary) monthly passengers are down -62.3% vs. YTD May 2019.
International Air Travel is Still Lagging.
- Travel Restrictions still vary widely across countries and continue to limit passenger traffic.
- International and business air travel needs to increase by the Fall when leisure travel decreases after summer ends.
Government Financial Assistance:
- CARES Act (03/2020)
- $10 billion allocated to airports; $229 million allocated to DCA & IAD
- CRRSAA (12/2020)
- $1.9 billion allocated to airports; $42.7 million allocated to DCA & IAD.
- American Rescue Plan (03/2021)
- $8 billion allocated to airports; $166 million (estimated) will be allocated to DCA & IAD.
- Strong liquidity allowed Airports Authority to maintain financial flexibility and airline rates and charges, and minimize CARES Act usage in 2020, reserving grant funds for future. Additional federal grants further strengthened Airport Authority’s liquidity. The grants are being used to offset debt service and concession relief associated with rent due for concessions.
For questions, reach out to DAAR’s Government Affairs Director.
June 25, 2021