Syracuse's Hancock Airport in a "Strong Financial Position" Despite Near-Evaporation of Air Travel

May 8, 2020

Credit WAER file photo

Passenger traffic is slowly starting to creep up at Syracuse’s Hancock airport, but officials say volume is still consistently down 90 to 95 percent from pre-COVID-19 numbers.  Airport Authority Executive Director Jason Terreri says as travelers return, they’ll probably notice some changes.

"At the concessions, you're going to see lines that require spacing.  We're going to see how we can best accommodate social distancing at the checkpoint, maybe spacing people out, realigning our lines.  The airlines are installing sneeze guards at some of their ticket counters."

Terreri says if you book a flight, be aware that airlines may also have new restrictions or regulations, such as wearing a mask.  He says airlines are starting to add service into the summer, which means the airport may begin to do so, as well.

"We are getting our June and July airline schedules, and we are seeing additional capacity added into the market.  As we have more passengers, we start to reopen our concessions, and we're doing this methodically."

Right now, he says it doesn’t make sense to have everything open due to such low volume.  While the shut down has devastated the airlines, Terreri says the airport is financially strong.

"We do have a good rainy day fund, if you will, that allows us to continue to operate.  We were up 20% last year, and have seen double digit growth the past two years, so we've been able to put ourselves in a good position."

As a result, he says they haven’t had to furlough or lay anyone off, let alone reduce hours.  Terreri says the $2.9 million in federal CARES Act funding certainly helps soften the blow.  As of now, he says they’re facing less than a million dollar deficit on a $30 million budget going into their next fiscal year which begins July first.