Cargo Up, Passengers Down: 2020 Data For Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, April 19, 2021 - 1:31pm

passenger walk by closed store
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Passengers walk by closed stores in Terminal 4 on Sept. 4, 2020.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport released passenger and cargo data for 2020. The report shows total passenger levels were down nearly 53% compared to 2019.

April 2020 saw a massive drop, 93% fewer passengers compared to April 2019. Passenger traffic in May was down 85.2% and gradually moved to roughly half the levels in September (54.3%). 

The strongest 2020 pandemic showing was in November with a decrease of 51% compared to November 2019. December’s passenger levels were 54.9% lower than December 2019.

Takeoffs and landings at Sky Harbor declined nearly 30%. An airport spokesperson says Sky Harbor numbers are higher than many other airport American Airlines and British Airways have not resumed service to London. Condor Airlines service to Frankfurt, Germany remains suspended and Eurowings delayed its launch from Phoenix to Frankfurt.

Airport spokesperson Krishna Patel told KJZZ: “Though our passenger traffic is down significantly, we are still seeing higher passenger numbers than many other airports across the country, and many airlines have recently added new air service.”

Patel said the soonest Sky Harbor expects numbers to return to 2019 levels would be early 2022, but the airport is planning for the downturn to last into late 2022 or even 2023.

The bright spot in 2020 was cargo. Sky Harbor saw record freight activity, up almost 10%. Cargo operators attribute the increase to online buying. 

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