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Passenger Traffic at Syracuse's Hancock Airport Takes Nosedive in March; TSA Offers Tips

Passenger traffic at Syracuse's Hancock Airport predictably took a sharp decline in March due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions and traveler comfort levels.  The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority officials say in a release that 47 percent fewer people passed through the terminal compared to March 2019.  

Federal and state orders mean the airport remains open for essential travel only.  Airlines have also dramatically modified their schedules.  Those traveling in the coming weeks are strongly urged to check with their airline to confirm the status of their flight.  

Airport officials say they've taken sanitizization steps above and beyond CDC recommendations, including a hospital-grade misting system to clean and disinfect.  Additionally, UV-C light units are being installed in high-traffic areas such as the security checkpoint and arrival locations to reduce the risk of airborne disease transmission.

Given the significant downturn in traffic, passengers will notice that the airport concessions have been scaled down in an effort to both abide by the Governor’s restrictions and to better accommodate the current demand.

The airport has a dedicated Coronavirus page with the latest updates affecting air travel.


Credit TSA
These items are permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.

The number of travelers choosing to fly has plummeted during the course of the last few months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The following tips are from a release from the Transportation Security Administration for those who must travel:

Tip 1: Bring that hand sanitizer with you. TSA is currently allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags until further notice. Since these containers exceed the standard 3.4-ounce allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they will need to be screened separately. This will add some time to the checkpoint screening experience. Please keep in mind that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a one quart-size bag.

Tip 2: Bring those wipes along with you too. Travelers are permitted to bring individually-packaged alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes in carry-on or checked luggage. Jumbo containers of hand wipes are also allowed in carry-on or checked luggage.

Tip 3: Wear a mask if you like. Travelers are allowed to wear masks during the security screening process, however a TSA officer may ask the traveler to adjust the mask to visually confirm their identity during the travel document checking process.

Tip 4: If your license expired on or after March 1, don’t panic. If your driver's license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration or 60 days after the duration of the emergency, whichever is longer. By the way, the Department of Homeland Security recently announced an extension of time to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. The new deadline is October 1, 2021.

Tip 5: Place items from your pockets into your carry-on bag. Prior to going through the security checkpoint, take the items from your pockets and place them into your carry-on bag so that you don’t have to place them in a bin. Remove the keys, tissues, lip balm, loose change, breath mints, mobile phone and anything else from your pockets and place them right into your carry-on bag. 

Tip 6: Remember to wash your hands. It’s good practice to wash your hands before and after going through the security screening process.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at