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From a record to a trickle: Data spells out dramatic fall-off at Boise’s airport

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COVID-19 Idaho

Last year, more people got on or off a plane at the Boise Airport than ever before – 4 million passengers.

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This year, officials slated a large-scale multi-year revamp and expansion. Flights to a long-sought eastern time zone destination landed on scheduling websites. The year started strong.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting air travel around the nation and globe.

Now, the revamp won’t start, the new flight won’t take off — and data shows a jarring drop in usage.

Total passengers at the Boise Airport by month, 2019-2020. BoiseDev graphic

In April of this year, 18,086 people took off or landed at the airport. That’s a drop of 94% from April of 2019 when the airport hosted 304,635 total passengers.

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The airport saw significantly fewer planes land during the month, 880 versus 2,130 the year before – a drop-off of 59%.

[‘Fair is all we ask:’ Idaho airports see big discrepancies in CARES Act funding]

The year started strong for BOI, with year-over-year increases in both January and February. Traffic started to dip in March, which started with little direct impact of the pandemic and ended with a near total shutdown of travel in the state.

One category that remains relatively stable is freight operations. Crews loaded slightly more freight than last year, up about six percent, and took off slightly less, down three percent.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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