We are a strong neighborhood!
March 24, 2020
The following message regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is from Thomas R. Stoudt, Executive Director, Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority:
Just a few short weeks ago, we at ABE were in the midst of 29 consecutive months of positive passenger growth.
Today, everything is quiet. Aircraft are nearly empty as they depart. Security checkpoint lines are non-existent, and our parking lots are revealing more blacktop then passenger cars.
Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) is no exception to feeling the severe financial impacts of COVID-19. From an economic perspective, airports across the U.S. are preparing for over $14 billion in lost revenue. That’s why ABE announced a 10% pay cut for executive staff members. Our goal is to limit the financial impact for employees as much as possible.
My message for the Lehigh Valley and surrounding communities: Your neighborhood airport is safe! Your neighborhood airport is strong! Your neighborhood airport is resilient!
In 90 years of operation, ABE has weathered many challenges. Just like in the past, we will help each other through this time of crisis and we will bounce back stronger.
What is happening to airline flight schedules at ABE?
Every headline that mentions U.S. airlines is talking about parking airplanes and reducing flights (both domestically and internationally). While we have just begun to see a decrease in air service, it will continue to decline and will certainly have a trickle down effect at ABE. The road to recovery will take time but no one knows how long or when we will begin. Either way, this situation will require our patience and perseverance.
Why is the Airport still operating?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in general, does not permit temporary closure or restriction of federally-obligated airports (like ABE) for non-aeronautical purposes, which includes public health concerns.
ABE is a critical economic and transportation engine and is still providing necessary passenger air travel. In addition, we also serve as a landing spot for several air cargo carriers which are moving much needed shipments and supplies to and from our region.
Is the Airport facility safe?
There is no greater responsibility than the safety of our passengers, staff, and stakeholders. We have been vigilant and committed to taking all precautions as they are critical in preventing COVID-19 transmission.
Signage outlining CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) best practices (good personal hygiene) are located in all our restrooms and heavy public traffic areas. Hand sanitizers have been strategically placed throughout the terminal, LNAA custodial staff have increased their disinfection efforts, and airline personnel disinfect public facing equipment like self-check-in kiosks.
TSA requests passengers wash / sanitize their hands before and after the checkpoint, while also placing their wallets, phones, and keys in their carry-on baggage for screening instead of placing them directly into a plastic bin.
Your neighborhood airport will always stay true to its vision of being the best regional airport system in North America. We wish for you to remain healthy. Thank you for choosing your neighborhood airport!