The Quad Cities International Airport reached a pandemic-era high with 42,881 travelers during the month of May. This marks the highest number of travelers through the airport since February 2020.

Quad Cities Airport Soars to Pandemic-Era Peak in Passengers for May

From April to May, Delta gained nearly 3,000 Q-C passengers, and that was before restoration of direct service to the Twin Cities restarted June 6.

The year began with passenger numbers hovering around 23,000, showing a clear uptick in demand as Covid-19 cases decrease and restrictions loosen across the U.S., according to a Wednesday release from the airport.

“We’ve been saying for months that we believe there is pent-up travel demand and we’re seeing that come to fruition in yet another strong month of recovery,” QCIA executive director Benjamin Leischner said in the release.

Quad Cities Airport Soars to Pandemic-Era Peak in Passengers for May

Ben Leischner is executive director of Quad Cities International Airport.

“With restored service from the Quad-Cities to Minneapolis through Delta, we expect this growth trend to continue and we are feeling energized by the return of passengers to our terminal,” he said.

Throughout the pandemic, Delta Air Lines blocked middle seats on airplanes, or reduced capacity, to promote social distancing. On May 1, Delta ended its blocked middle seat policy. The QC Airport experienced a noticeable difference in Delta performance as a result, with a 90% load factor. From April to May, Delta gained nearly 3,000 passengers. This is prior to the restoration of service to Minneapolis-St. Paul, which began June 6.

“Delta is nearly filling all of its planes out of MLI and experienced the largest month over month increase in passengers compared to the other airlines,” said Leischner. “With June marking the return of twice daily

Quad Cities Airport Soars to Pandemic-Era Peak in Passengers for May

The Quad Cities International Airport in Moline saw its highest number of passengers during the pandemic in May, its most since February 2020.

service to Minneapolis-St. Paul, we expect Delta will have another strong month. Delta’s presence at the QC Airport provides invaluable connections to global destinations and it’s encouraging to see people taking advantage of their network.”

Even with the May gain, Delta saw 55 percent fewer passengers board in Moline this year compared to the 9,388 in May 2019. The airport total passengers in May 2021 also were 45 percent less than the 64,386 in May 2019; just 7,068 passengers came through the QC airport in May 2020.

Delta has not yet provided information on when service to Detroit might be restored. In general, the airline seems to be focusing its recovery strategy elsewhere, the airport said Wednesday. “However, the strong interest in Delta service at the QC Airport supports efforts to bid for restored or new service.”

Quad Cities International Airport in Moline serves passengers from western Illinois and eastern Iowa. With 10 nonstop destinations, the airport served over 700,000 passengers in 2019. Four major airlines operate out of QC Airport —  Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

For more information, visit https://www.qcairport.com/.

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Quad Cities Airport Soars to Pandemic-Era Peak in Passengers for May
Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.