Houston airports see 95% year-over-year reduction in passenger travel in April

George Bush Intercontinental Airport experienced a 3.5 million drop in passengers in April compared to  April 2019. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport experienced a 3.5 million drop in passengers in April compared to April 2019. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)

George Bush Intercontinental Airport experienced a 3.5 million drop in passengers in April compared to April 2019. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)

With stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus having been in full swing in April, the Houston Airport System saw a 95% reduction in passenger travel year over year at both airports.

In April, 3.5 million fewer passengers traveled through George Bush Intercontinental Airport than in April 2019, from 3.69 million to 180,786, according to HAS data. This equaled a 95.1% change in passenger travel at the Humble-area airport.

Meanwhile, William P. Hobby Airport saw 1.13 million fewer travelers in April compared to April 2019, from 1.19 million last year to 61,797 this year—a 94.8% decline.


Additionally, IAH saw a decrease of 1.83 million passengers between March and April, from 2.01 million to 180,787, per HAS data. Hobby Airport saw a decrease of 547,630 passengers between March and April, from 609,427 to 61,797, per HAS data.

HAS Public Information Officer Augusto Bernal said via email the decline in passengers is following the overall national trend for air travel, so the airport system expected a significant decrease. While air travel is slow, Bernal said the system has implemented additional cleaning measures, including installing plexiglass barriers at ticket counters, adding social distancing markers and requiring all employees to wear face masks.


"We want the public to feel confident, we are doing all we can to have a sanitary and healthy environment at all Houston Airports for our employees and the traveling public," he said.

Bernal said the airport system is unable to predict how many people will travel in May. The data will be released in mid-to-late June.


By Kelly Schafler

Managing editor, South Houston

Kelly joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2017 after majoring in print journalism and creative writing at the University of Houston. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor for the Lake Houston-Humble-Kingwood edition and began covering the Spring and Klein area as well in August 2020. In June 2021, Kelly was promoted to South Houston managing editor.