Burlington airport looking at projected $20M in losses

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 3:32 PM EDT
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Travel has practically ground to a halt with Vermont and most of the country adhering to stay-at-home orders, but the Burlington International Airport is still open.

The terminal at the Burlington airport is nearly empty, but flights are still taking off. "It's crushing business," said Gene Richards, the airport's director of aviation.

He says they have gone from a normal week averaging around 13,000 people checking their bags and taking off to just 1,200. But Richards sees a silver lining. "It means that people are not traveling -- people are staying home and doing what they are supposed to do," he said.

Early projections estimate the coronavirus will cost the airport $20 million, and Richards knows the airlines and rental car companies are in trouble too. "The problem is nobody has any money so they are looking for the stiumlus package to help them," he said.

For passangers like Laura McClure, looking to get home to Florida, an empty airport is an odd sight. "They are pretty empty," she said.

"It is a little freaky that you are the only passanger on the plane with the flight attendent, and just going through secruity. Then I have a layover in Charlotte, which is probuably going to be morbid," said Monica Bean of Florida.

Richards acknowledges that this is a very unusual and challenging time, but says the rest of the country is in the same boat.