Update: Pandemic takes its toll on MOV airport business

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 6:22 PM EST
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Update: 4/24/2020

Passenger flights are still in operation at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, and on their normal schedules.

But due to COVID-19 restrictions, few people are flying out of the area.

Contour Airlines flights have, on average, had just one or two passengers a day.

Airport Manger Glen Kelly notes passenger travel makes up only 5% or airport revenues.

A far bigger source, fuel sales, have also declined since late March.

Another big source is general, or private, aviation, which held steady until late March, before also declining.

Kelly, however, believes that will change as the weather gets warmer.

"I'm sure that will probably pick back up beginning in May, to some degree," he says, "and depending on the rollouts from different states, I expect to see chartered, corporate traffic come back as well as general aviation."

Kelly says the airport continues to get Essential Air Service funding from the U.S. Department of Aviation, which is needed to keep the passenger service going.

It recently also was approved for Paycheck Protection loans and just received $69,000 in CARES funding, allowing the airport to avoid staff reductions.

Kelly says how the summer travel season goes depends on how soon business restrictions from the virus are eased or lifted altogether.

The airport will be closed to air traffic for the first three weeks in June, not due to the virus but because of scheduled runway maintenance.


Local passenger travel remains at the level where it's been since Contour Airlines began service 15 months ago a the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.

When word of the virus-let alone the virus itself-began spreading, airport management stepped up its cleaning and sanitizing efforts.

"This virus seems to be particularly nasty," Airport Manager Glen Kelly said Friday. "I decided to start doing those things to protect my staff, and the travelers in the area, just in case."

There have been reports of falling demand for airline flights, notably international flights. But Kelly says Friday, there were 24 passengers boarding a 30-seat Contour flight, bound for Charlotte's International Airport.

"I'm sure it is going to affect the traveler, particularly the airline traveler. I've actually heard there are a lot more people who can charter, chartering. But I haven't seen any seen any effect at our airport, as far as the commercial traveler."

In other words, business as usual-for now.

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