The number of people flying through Portland International Airport has been rising rapidly for most of the year, at last shaking off the pandemic slowdown. That figures to make for PDX’s busiest holiday season in years.
Nearly 14 million people traveled through the airport in the first 10 months of 2023, according to the Port of Portland, which runs PDX. That’s a 13% jump from 2022.
The airport forecasts 240,000 passengers will fly in or out of Portland over Thanksgiving, from Wednesday through Sunday. That’s 9% more than last year. Sunday figures to be busiest, with 55,000 passengers.
The weeks leading up Christmas and New Year’s Day stand to be even more hectic.
PDX estimates 750,000 passengers will fly between Dec. 17 and the end of the year. That would be 23% more than in 2022, when the December ice storm impeded flights.
“We say it every year, but it’s our No. 1 tip for a reason: Arrive early, folks,” said port spokesperson Allison Ferre.
The airport wants people to come more than two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights, according to Ferre. Beyond that, travelers should allow additional time to find a place to park. They can check online for real-time updates on how much space is available at the airport’s garages and parking lots.
Portland passenger volumes were much slower to recover than other places in the country. The port said larger, hub airports got more flights as airlines ramped back up from their pandemic slowdowns and coped with an enduring pilot shortage. Business travel has been especially slow.
Even now, October’s passenger volumes were 11% below the same month in 2019. But the pace of activity is picking up rapidly – something to bear in mind as you plan your holiday travel.
This is Oregon Insight, The Oregonian’s weekly look at the numbers behind the state’s economy. View past installments here.
— Mike Rogoway | firstname.lastname@example.org |
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