Depending on how December’s figures pan out, Northern Virginia’s two major airports will have finished up 2022 with either one or two months where combined passenger traffic exceeded pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

According to new data from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the combined monthly enplanements at Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International airports exceeded their 2019 counterparts only once during the year – in September, when there were 1,995,851 passenger departures compared to 1,946,851 in September 2019.

But the comeback is continuing, with both October and November figures only slightly below their 2019 counterparts. December 2022 figures are expected to be released in coming weeks.

2022 proved to be “a very successful year despite some challenging circumstances,” authority CEO Jack Potter told board members on Jan. 18. “We continue moving forward,” Potter said. “We’re optimistic.”

At Reagan National, 2022 passenger counts have been above 2019 since April, with recent travel totals up an average of about 7 percent compared to 2019. But at Dulles, each month of 2022 has brought lower passenger totals than 2019 figures, although the percentage decline was whittled down as the year went on.

There are some bright spots at Dulles, where passenger traffic to Latin America, Africa and the Middle East is running above 2019 figures and traffic to Europe is at 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels. But domestic travel through Dulles is only at 89 percent of 2019 figures, with travel to Canada at 70 percent and passenger totals to Asia a scant 27 percent of 2019 figures, according to Innovate Airline Schedules.

(Figures count passengers from Jan. 1 to Dec. 5.)

As it translates to dollars, the authority’s airline-related revenue for the first 11 months of 2022 stood at $710.3 million, above projections and 40 percent higher than a year before, but still below the $731.3 million during the first 11 months of the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Revenues acquired directly from airline service stood at $298.3 million, down from $324.3 million during the same period in 2019, while indirect revenue (such as leases for concessionaires) stood at $412 million, up from $407 million during the January-through-November period of 2019.

[https://sungazette.news provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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