By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
A few travelers trickled in and out of the Redmond Airport’s doors Tuesday morning.
Zachary Bass, Redmond Airport’s director, said it’s been like this for several months now.
Even with an uptick in travelers expected for the Fourth of July holiday, the airport’s traffic is expected to fall well behind last year.
“Historically, we see a spike on holiday weekends, Memorial Day, Fourth of July,” Bass said.
In March, the airport saw business drop by around 95%. As of Tuesday, the airport has around 30% of the traffic they had at this same time last year.
“We’re probably expecting right around 1,500 people each day to fly in and out of the airport over the holiday weekend,” Bass said. “We’re averaging about 1,000 each day, so we’re expecting a little spike.”
While some people are opting to fly to their Fourth of July destination, Marie Dodds with AAA said most people are choosing to travel by car this year.
“Car travel is the number one way to go this summer and we usually see a high share of people traveling by car,” Dodds, who is the director of government and public affairs, said. “This year, it’s through the roof. 97% of travelers are going by car this summer.”
AAA forecasts Americans will take 700 million trips this summer. That’s a drop of 15% compared to last year and the first decline in summer travel since 2009.
Where is everyone going? AAA surveys show many people in the Pacific Northwest are headed to Central Oregon.
“Central Oregon is always one of the top destinations,” Dodds said. “This year, it’s actually number two on the list behind Boise.”
Dodds said many people this weekend will be packing up their car and heading somewhere they can get outside.
“People want to travel by car, and it makes sense because a lot of people feel more secure, safer traveling by car,” Dodds said. “You’re in the car with your own family, you can avoid crowds, you can take safety precautions.”