PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) -- Revenue is expected to be down more than 30% at Sky Harbor International Airport for the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, 3 On Your Side has learned.

Heather Shelbrack, a spokeswoman for Sky Harbor, says revenue figures are still being finalized for the time period between March and August. The airport does not have revenue projections for the rest of 2020 or 2021, she added.

The revenue decrease is closely tied to the drop in passengers that airports across the country experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, data provided by the airport shows the number of passengers flying in and out of Sky Harbor plummeted 93% compared to the same time last year. In July, passenger numbers rebounded slightly but were still down 65% compared to July 2019. Passenger data is not yet available for August.

"We're anticipating that it will still take a few years to get back to our 2019 levels where we had a record number of passengers, but we have seen a month-over-month increase in passengers returning to the airport," Shelbrack said.

Despite the drop-off in passengers and revenue, major airport projects, including the Sky Train extension and the new concourse in Terminal 4, are continuing as planned, according to Shelbrack.

Airlines are also adding routes. According to Sky Harbor, Southwest is adding two routes to Mexico -- Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas -- beginning Oct. 8. American Airlines recently announced it will add nine new routes from Sky Harbor to destinations that include Billings, Montana, and Bismark, North Dakota.

While passenger airlines are scrambling to make money, business for cargo planes is up year over year.

"Our cargo operators have said that usually, it slows down after the winter holidays, and this year it didn't," Shelbrack said. "From this July to last July, we've seen a more than 12% increase and more than 7% overall. It's not additional aircraft. It's just additional cargo on those aircraft."

In April, the CARES Act included billions in relief for airports. Sky Harbor was awarded more than $147 million in funding. Phoenix recently announced that the Airport Small Business Assistance Program will give $1 million worth of grants to 18 concessionaries in Sky Harbor.


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