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A Year of Resurgence

A Year of Resurgence

January 18, 2022

Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) approached 2018 traffic numbers

(Hanover Township, PA) – Amidst the ongoing pandemic, expectations for a quick return to normal air travel routines at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) seemed unlikely in 2021.

“We’ve said it all along, the aviation industry pointed to 2023 or 2024 as the recovery period. Passenger traffic numbers in January and February supported that case.  Fortunately, this timetable was expedited throughout the year as vaccinations increased and the level of comfort for air travel certainly improved,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, Executive Director, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA).  

752,111 passengers traveled through ABE in 2021 – a 92.4 percent increase from 2020 – nearly reaching the 2018 total of 792,974.

Calendar Year        Passengers      Percentage increase      Calendar Year        Passengers

2021                           752,111                       92.4%                          2020                   390,764

“Would we have optimistically predicted over ¼ million passengers during the summer and over 700,000 passengers choosing your neighborhood airport for the year?  I don’t think so.  This resurgence was a welcome sight and certainly created positive momentum at the Airport,” said Stoudt.

Following a steady flow of Thanksgiving fliers, a strong holiday travel season continued in December with 68,034 passengers taking off and landing at ABE – a 146.2% increase from the same month the previous year.   

 Month              Passengers                Percentage increase             Month             Passengers

Dec. ’21                68,034                                  146.2%                       Dec. ’20               27,631

By the numbers, United reported a massive passenger traffic increase of 220%, Delta jumped 161%, Allegiant moved up 147%, and American finished 104% ahead of December 2020.

Late last year, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA) received $2 million in state RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program) funding to support the Airport’s construction of a new Terminal Connector / Security Checkpoint which remains on schedule for 2023 opening to the public.

“We are extremely grateful for the commitment of our delegation in Harrisburg which ensures the Airport maintains its primary role of being an economic asset for the region,” said Stoudt.

“ABE’s Terminal Connector project will set the stage for the Airport’s continued growth well into the foreseeable future,” said Senator Pat Browne (R-16).

“Lehigh Valley International Airport is an important economic engine for the Lehigh Valley and our Commonwealth and this state investment will allow them to build upon its economic impact,” said Senator Lisa Boscola, (D-18).

Travel Tip: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires face masks for all individuals (age 2 and older) while at transportation hubs through at least March 18, 2022.

It was another record setting year for air cargo, with 232,201,033 pounds processed at ABE in 2021.  The Airport remained a critical conduit for the expedited transportation of goods into and out of the Lehigh Valley, as the rise of E-commerce hasn’t slowed down.

    Month            Cargo (lbs.)              Percentage increase              Month              Cargo (lbs.)

Jan-Dec. ’21       232,201,033                          10.4%                      Jan-Dec. ’20         210,271,578

“Through our FAA-approved Airport Master Plan, we have identified the need to develop additional air cargo capacity to meet current and future demand, and we are evaluating some potential options,” said Stoudt.