(Green Bay, Wis.) As people are learning to co-exist with COVID, they’re getting back to work as well as back to doing the things they love. That’s even true for traveling.
“In both commercial and general aviation, we’ve seen steady increases in passenger traffic,” explained Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) Director, Marty Piette, A.A.E.
GRB’s two Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), Jet Air and Executive Air have made a full recovery to match or exceed 2019 passenger levels. “Much of our recovery is thanks to two things: the resumption of private business travel and full stadiums for football games,” stated Jet Air Group CEO, Al Timmerman. “The Packers are a huge draw, and we have a lot of people flying in for games as well as flying out to road games.” In addition to leisure travel Jim Prast, General Manager of Executive Air, says private and charter business travel have come back strong. “We really started to see it return in the last half of 2021. It makes sense when you think about it because business development, expansion or sales are all relationship based. You need to get out to your plants, to meet with your customers and prospects. We think it’s a trend that will continue.”
The resumption of private and charter business travel is a trend that should extend to GRB commercial traffic in the coming months. “Companies have been easing up on their travel policies, so we look forward to more commercial business travelers in the months ahead,” added Piette.
Leisure travel, and the addition of a number of nonstop flights to vacation destinations, has helped drive passenger traffic at GRB. The overall number of passengers in 2021 was up more than 86% over 2020. “That is certainly not surprising considering everything came to a halt in 2020,” explained Piette. “What’s more significant is that currently GRB is back to 75% of its 2019 numbers; and 2019 was an exceptionally strong year; the best since 2011.”
Piette also credits a focus on passenger health and safety with driving the increase. “We are doing everything we can to ensure the traveling public is safe with enhanced cleaning protocols and our GRB Means Clean effort. We’ve heard from many of our customers that they really appreciate the effort.”
Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach thanked local leisure and business travelers for supporting the airport and FBOs. “Having a strong local airport is important to our economy and to our community’s future,” he stated. “The only way the airport can grow and add more flights and more destinations is by supporting the service we have. So, thank you to those who fly GRB and use our FBOs, your support is greatly appreciated.”