Lehigh Valley International Airport

Runway work at the Lehigh Valley International Airport in September cut down on passenger traffic, but October is looking "pretty strong" so far.

That means LVIA flyers should arrive early for flights.

Thomas Stoudt, executive director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, said Tuesday that the two closings, which totaled 126 hours, cost the airport some flights and traffic, but the work was essential. The authority runs LVIA, Braden Airpark, and the Queen City Airport.

Comparing travel numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic can be tricky. The 49,330 passengers who used the airport in September was actually up 93%, nearly double, from the same month in 2020.

However, pandemic restrictions last year cut down on travel.

When compared to September 2019, before the pandemic, traffic in the month was down 26%. Closing twice, once for 72 hours and then again for 54 hours, also skewed the numbers.

"Without the closures, the two runway closures we had in September, I think we'd be down only 15% over 2019," Stoudt said at Tuesday's meeting of the authority board.

LVIA's decline versus October 2019 so far is not as severe as the national trend, Stoudt said, which he said is encouraging.

In a separate statement, Stoudt urged travelers to arrive at least two hours before their departure time to make sure they get through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Face masks are still required at the airport through at least Jan. 18, 2022, according to the authority statement.

Meanwhile, the airport is preparing its snow-removal equipment for winter, and on Nov. 4, it will hold a career fair for LVIA and vendors from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the main terminal.

The authority held a brief executive session called by Solicitor Robert Freedberg to discuss stormwater litigation involving the City of Allentown.

 
 
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