The Portland International Jetport is on track to see its busiest summer ever, as tourism and travel boom following a historically slow 2020 due to the pandemic, according to the Portland Press Herald.
For July and August, there were more airplane seats for sale into and out of the city than ever before, jetport authorities told the Press Herald. Just a few months ago, passenger volumes at the airport — which is the state’s largest — were half what they were in 2019.
For July, there were about 292,000 seats available for passengers, the newspaper reported. There are about 300,000 available for August, which narrowly beats the record for the month that was set three years ago.
Added airline routes to Portland, paired with the state’s tourism appeal, are likely factors for the uptick in visitors. The airport doubled its nonstop destinations to 30 over the past year, including White Plains, New York, and Minneapolis, and brought in larger planes with more first-class seats, which are especially popular during times of social distancing.
Travel was down 50 percent in the first months of 2021, causing the airport to find new ways to attract fliers. The airport launched the “Maine’s Home Airport” campaign, a $100,000 marketing strategy, which aimed to advertise widely in hopes of attracting travelers.
As the virus spread rapidly in April 2020, the airport saw fewer than 5,500 passengers pass through the gates. The highest volume of travelers for that year once the pandemic began — more than 80,000 travelers — came in August, though it was a third of the volume compared with the year before, according to the jetport.
Travelers steadily trickled through the airport at the beginning of 2021, but when travel restrictions were lifted across the country in May, the airport began booming. Despite the rise of the delta variant, airports nationwide have reported a resurgence in ticket sales.