Today, West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) announced that passenger travel is back to pre-pandemic levels. From January to June, 24,284 more passengers passed through CRW when compared to 2022. In June alone, CRW experienced a 13.4% increase in enplanements, welcoming a total of 178,888 passengers so far this year. This substantial growth in air traffic is a testament to the strong and thriving rebound in the travel industry.
As the travel industry continues its upward trajectory and interest in exploring West Virginia’s natural beauty grows, more visitors are choosing CRW as their preferred gateway. The airport’s commitment to providing top-notch services and convenient travel options has resonated well with passengers, contributing to this milestone.
“We love to see so many passengers choosing to fly CRW,” said Airport Director & CEO Dominique Ranieri. “This is a testament to the growth of West Virginia tourism, our hardworking staff, and our airline partners’ confidence in CRW.”
The recent addition of Breeze Airways as an air carrier operating at CRW has significantly influenced the growth in passenger count. Breeze recently announced nonstop flights to Tampa, Florida, which begin on October 4th. Their presence has opened exciting travel opportunities for both business and leisure travelers, connecting West Virginia to popular travel destinations.
As West Virginia’s largest airport, CRW plays a vital role in promoting economic growth and connectivity for the region. The record-breaking passenger numbers are a testament to the successful partnership between the airport, state officials, and our airline partners. Through continued collaboration, these stakeholders are determined to build upon this momentum and further establish West Virginia as a premier travel destination.
It is the mission of West Virginia International Yeager Airport to provide a safe, world-class airport that elevates the customer experience and exceeds stakeholder and tenant expectations while supporting economic development in the state.
Spring break is here. But, you don’t need to be a teenager to make all your travel dreams come true this spring break! We can help. At CRW, we want to ensure your travel experience is smooth sailing with no turbulence. So, here are some tips to get you through spring break travel.
It’s going to be a crowded spring break this year, with more travelers than in previous years during the pandemic. Travel agents are reporting significant increases in their bookings for the upcoming spring break, and even summer vacations.
According to The International Air Transport Association, 150 percent more passengers will fly this year than they did last year.
One of the most basic rules of flying is to give yourself plenty of time. We know getting through CRW’s TSA checkpoint is a breeze, but you never know if there will be a delay at the checkpoint, or if you need to take more time checking in a bag at the airline kiosk. CRW suggests arriving at the airport 90 minutes before your scheduled flight. But, also check with the airlines.
If you are checking a bag, some airlines require you to arrive at least an hour before your flight. In some cases, if you aren’t at the airport within the hour check-in window, the airline can refuse to allow you to board.
CHECK YOUR FLIGHT STATUS
We aren’t out of the woods yet for winter weather, and neither are certain Spring Break destinations, like Chicago. Even if you are heading to a tropical place, your aircraft may be coming from somewhere cold. Checking your flight status will keep you in the know of any last-minute changes, cancellations, or delays.
The best way to track your plane is to visit FlightAware.com or download the app. Once there, you can enter your flight number and track your flight in real time.
Tracking your flight has perks during busy travel times, such as spring break. Tracking inbound flights is particularly useful when the airline you’re traveling on offers a limited number of flights from CRW.
Knowing where your flight is coming from can help you understand any potential delays, and plan accordingly from there.
BE CHECKPOINT SAVVY
In order to keep the TSA security line moving smoothly, make sure you have your ID and boarding pass out. Make sure your pockets are empty, belts, jackets, and shoes are off. You can, of course, skip this part if you have TSA PreCheck.
If you aren’t sure what you can or can’t bring with you, head over to this link.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK OR ACCEPT HELP
At CRW, passenger safety and their experience is our top priority. In order to enhance that experience, CRW has recently implemented the Sunflower Program, a program that helps passengers with hidden disabilities. We offer complimentary sunflower lanyards, pins, or bracelets in baggage claim for passengers to wear, if they have a hidden disability. More information on this program can be found here.
While the CDC has lessened their requirements on masks, you will still need to wear your mask at CRW and on your flight.
When flying in the United States, you will still need to wear a mask.
Yeager Airport is going to have nightly closures of its runway (RWY 5/23) starting on July 5th through November 22nd. The runway is also going to be closed on eight Saturdays. The runway closures are part of an $8.7 million runway rehabilitation project.
The rehabilitation project includes
- Replacing the centerline light system with a new LED system
- Light installation at Taxiway C
- Milling and paving the 30-foot center (keel) of the runway
- Improving the runway profile to remove dips that do not meet FAA standards
Construction workers paving runway 5/23 during phase 1 of the runway rehab project.
This project is being 100-percent funded by the FAA and does not require a local match.
The Saturday runway closures are:
- August 6-8
- August 13-15
- August 20-22
- September 10-12
- September 24-26
- October 1-3
- October 8-10
- November 19-21
“I know these closures could impact some of our passengers travel plans,” said Yeager Airport Director and CEO Nick Keller. “But the work being done is necessary to make sure CRW is set up for success as the airport continues to grow.”
There are two contingent Saturdays, for runway closures at Yeager Airport, built into the schedule to accommodate for bad weather.
- Contingent Saturday #1 October 15-17
- Contingent Saturday #2 October 22-24
On the weekend of the Saturday closures, the runway will be shut down starting at 11PM on Friday and will reopen Sunday at 7am.
What a difference one year makes. This time last year, most of us were still working from home, figuring out how to work TikTok, and canceling all of our vacation plans. Travel numbers at Yeager Airport were close to single digits, and no one was sure when or if this pandemic would come to an end.
How empty was CRW on Memorial Day Weekend 2020? Let’s look at the passenger numbers from 5-27 through 5-31 of last year.
- 5/27 – 80 passengers
- 5/28 – 90 passengers
- 5/29 – 96 passengers
- 5/30 – 95 passengers
- 5/31 – 83 passengers
CRW’s 20 minute parking lot sits mostly empty in March of 2020. Only ticketed passengers were allowed in the terminal during the lockdown.
To give you a reference point, CRW averaged between 700 and 800 daily passenger’s pre-pandemic. One (long) year and a whole lot of vaccinations later, and the numbers for MDW 2021 were a sight for sore eyes.
- 5/27 – 741 passengers
- 5/28 – 824 passengers
- 5/29 – 812 passengers
- 5/30 – 851 passengers
- 5/31 – 801 passengers
Travel Numbers are Coming Back
The passenger numbers from the holiday weekend align with what we have been seeing at CRW over the last few months. And we are expecting our passenger numbers to keep rising. Starting June 6th, American Airlines’ route from Charleston, WV to Philadelphia, PA, is returning. With that flight back in operation, all of the routes that were temporarily paused at CRW because of COVID-19 are back in operation.
Low cost air carrier Spirit Airlines is helping travel numbers bounce back at Yeager Airport
Travel Numbers Bouncing Back Quicker Than Expected
There are many different answers to that question. At the beginning of the pandemic, experts predicted countries with large domestic markets would bounce back first, and the United States has one of the biggest domestic markets in the world.
Airports across the country, including CRW, have also spent tons of time and money ensuring passengers can travel safely. CRW installed UV-C filters, cleaned out every HVAC duct, had round-the-clock cleaning of high touch surfaces, just to name a few.
The heightened cleaning, along with masks and a quick vaccine rollout, has lead people back to the skies. And CRW is here for it!
Are COVID Measures Still in Place at CRW?
Although the federal mask mandate was eased, the mandate still states that face coverings must be worn in airports and airplanes. Our passengers at CRW have done an incredible job wearing masks throughout the pandemic, and for that, we thank you.
Spirit Gate Agent wearing her mask while checking travelers in.
It has been a long road to get back to some normalcy. We are happy to see you and your families again at CRW. And if you are waiting for your flight and want to show us some of the TikTok dances you learned last year, we would love to see those too!