Passenger trips through Oakland International Airport slumped during August, a disappointing setback that snapped a streak of three consecutive months of improvements in the airport’s travel numbers, the East Bay aviation hub reported Thursday.
An estimated 313,300 airline passengers traveled through Oakland airport in August, which was down about 28,500 from July, according to a report released by the airport.
“Encouraging June to July growth was dampened as cases of COVID-19 increased during August,” said Bryant Francis, director of aviation with the Port of Oakland.
Plus, after severe downturns in March and April, Oakland International Airport had managed increases on a month-to-month basis for the months of May, June, and July, when compared to the prior month.
The passenger trips in August were down 74 percent from August 2019, when 1.19 million travelers used Oakland International Airport.
The August passenger volume was down about 8 percent from the passenger trips in July.
Oakland airport officials blamed multiple factors for the decline.
“The postponement of the State of Hawaii’s planned pre-travel COVID-19 testing program resulted in a reduction in service to the Hawaiian Islands,” Francis said.
Southwest Airlines has continued to operate twice-daily service from Oakland to Honolulu, Oahu for those with an urgent, essential need to travel and enabling the shipment of essential cargo, the airport said.
Still, the decision by Southwest Airlines on the Hawaii flights wasn’t enough to offset a steep decline in trips between Oakland and the tropical islands.
“Just two of up to eight scheduled daily flights operated during what would have been a peak month” for Hawaii trips, Francis said.
During January, Oakland airport handled 905,800 air travelers, and in February, the aviation center handled 845,600 passengers.
Then March brought a steep decline when 451,800 passengers traveled through Oakland International Airport. After that, the bottom fell out with only 45,800 travelers going through Oakland during April. But the next three months brought increases until the August decline.
“Year-to-date through August 2020, our airport is down 63.3 percent from 2019 totals,” Robert Bernardo, a spokesperson for Oakland International Airport, said in an email to this news organization.