Airport officials meet at TLH to discuss importance of airports as travel re-starts following pandemic

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 10:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable at the Fort Lauderdale Airport to discuss the aviation industry and what can be done to rejuvenate it.

He spoke to leaders from both Fort Lauderdale and Miami International airports, as well as different airlines and rental car services about protocols and what needs to be done to make people feel safe to travel again.

Governor DeSantis talked about the importance of the aviation industry to the state and the thousands relying on it to make ends meet.

“We have so many people whose livelihoods and jobs depends on the industry and on this being successful,” DeSantis said. “And, particular here in south Florida, I mean we’re talking about a huge, huge amount of people.”

DeSantis says he’ll be working closely with airports and airlines across the state to speed the industry back up.

In Tallahassee on Friday, members of the national air transportation association made a stop to talk about how airports can foster growth in cities and how the industry can bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting focused on partnership; reinforcing the importance of airports and their tenants working together.

Director of Aviation, David Pollard, says airports are the economic engine of the community. Different customers, such as business aviation or private flights, need different accommodations.

During the pandemic, cargo traffic at Tallahassee International Airport actually increased.

“FedEx has requested a little bit more space out here, so we’re working with them to facilitate their request,” Pollard said. “They’ve asked to bring in a couple more caravan aircraft, which is a smaller aircraft that can go to the destinations where they need their cargo to go.”

In many cases, an airport is the main entry point to a rural community.

Pollard says Tallahassee is in a pretty good spot right now: At rock bottom, travel numbers were down 95% in April. They’re now down about 68%.

Pollard continues that they’re working on campaigns to educate passengers about the safety measures they’re taking as people begin to travel again.

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