KILLEEN, Texas – Businesses across Central Texas are slowly returning to normal after the pandemic – including airport travel.
“During the pandemic, of course, it being a very challenging year, but working very closely with our airline partners and our tenants here at the airport, we managed to work through it and actually come out in better shape than we were before,” Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport Executive Director of Aviation Mike Wilson said.
Wilson says their enplaned numbers for the month of May were ten percent higher than 2019, and 340 percent higher than last year.
“The military traffic picked up first, then the leisure traffic picked up,” Wilson said. “Now our business traffic travelers are starting to pick up.”
Wilson says there is still no food being served on the smaller aircrafts, and masks are still required by TSA in the airport and on the airplanes.
“I think everybody is adjusting fine, because other than coming to the airport, life is starting to get back to normal,” Wilson said.
FOX44 spoke to one traveler, Cindy O’Dell, who says she feels safe to resume flying after the pandemic – but she says it is still important to use caution in bigger groups.
“If feels wonderful. It’s nice to see family, nice to see people. We’re excited,” O’Dell said.
Wilson says one of the exciting things not seen much during the pandemic is full terminals.
“Walking through the buildings in the morning and seeing the lobby full of passengers, and full of bags, and people waiting to get on airplane instead of walking through a deserted lobby floor, that’s the big difference,” Wilson said.
He says the airport now has new vendors in the food court area, and a gift shop – and their revenue the last couple of months is already over the number from previous years.
“The travel is hassle-free. It’s easier than driving to Dallas or Austin, and a lot more convenient,” Wilson said. “Closed in parking, short security lines, and we just encourage the folks in Central Texas to fly Killeen.”