Passenger activity at Mitchell hits lowest level since 1984

Planes on the runway at Mitchell International Airport. - Curtis Waltz (www.aerialscapes.com) photo.

Nearly 2.63 million passengers flew in and out of Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in 2020, the lowest level of passenger activity at the airport since 1984, according to data posted to the airport’s website.

Mitchell experienced a 61.9% drop in passenger activity during the year with enplanements down slightly more than deplanements. In 2019, nearly 6.9 million passengers travel through the airport.

Passenger activity started the year up slightly in January and February but plummeted in March as the COVID-19 pandemic set in. In April alone, passenger activity was down almost 96% with just 23,664 passengers flying in and out, an average of 789 per day. In April 2019, more than 585,000 passengers traveled through the airport.

From that low point, passenger activity began to improve, reaching a year-over-year decline of 68.6% by August. The gains have been smaller since then, averaging around a 0.6 percentage point improvement for the remainder of the year.

In December, passenger activity was down 66.3% from the prior year, a slight improvement from the 66.6% year-over-year decline in November.

The number of available seats dropped 43.3% of the year. Operations by large air carriers dropped 36% and those by small air carriers dropped 29.2%.

Timmerman Airport on Milwaukee’s northwest side, on the other hand, saw an 11.5% increase in operations for the year.

The amount of air freight handled at Mitchell was also down for the year, albeit it just 3% compared to the massive decline in passenger activity. All told, 159.4 million pounds of freight moved through the airport.

A little more than 2 million pounds of air mail moved through the airport for the year, down 31.3% from 2019.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He spent also five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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