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Passenger Traffic Sharply Down At Eugene Airport

Rachael McDonald

Passenger traffic is down sharply at the Eugene Airport as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

With Oregon and many other states under a Stay At Home order banning all but essential travel, it’s no surprise that fewer people are boarding airplanes these days. While the Eugene Airport remains open, traffic there has fallen dramatically.

“We’re down about 90 percent, which is really consistent with the national average," said Andrew Martz, the acting assistant director of the Eugene Airport. "Right now, nationally, numbers are down about 93 percent.”

That means fewer than 200 passengers a day are departing from the Eugene airport. Normally, at this time of year, Martz said more than 1,500 people would board a plane in Eugene each day.

Airlines have already trimmed their flight schedules, but the remaining flights are operating far below capacity. United Airlines publishes seat maps on flights that have departed, offering a glimpse into how sparse passenger loads are these days.

For example, United flight 240, which departed Eugene for Denver on Wednesday morning, had just eight passengers on board. The Airbus A320 had a seating capacity of 150.

Martz said the airport has posted signs reminding people to practice social distancing, and has put tape on the floor in front of check-in counters to offer a visual clue to travelers to maintain a healthy amount of space while standing in line.

"It's a strange feeling for everyone," said Martz. "We're open and operational, but obviously it's an abnormal time."

Martz says people who absolutely have to travel should confirm their flight status before heading to the airport.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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