A year later, NFTA, other agencies anticipate uptick in travel

Representatives with both the NFTA and AAA say they’re seeing an increase in people looking to travel again, ahead of Easter and spring break.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New figures from the Transportation Security Administration on Friday show the number of screened airport passengers nationwide hit its highest level in more than a year.

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority spokesperson Helen Tederous told 2 On Your Side looking at those airport passenger numbers, it’s all about perspective.

She said the number of people traveling is still far off from what it would be in a normal year, but it’s definitely on its way up compared to what we’ve seen this past year. 

“It was just very, very, very quiet. Hardly any traffic and travel, and when we say, ‘It was really quiet,’ we’re talking about sometimes 90 percent decline on certain days, which is just unheard of,” Tederous said.

She said locally the airport is still operating at about an 80 percent decrease in passenger count.

Part of what’s contributing to that is continued restrictions along the border, since, as Tederous explained, about 30 percent of the travelers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport typically come from Canada.

However, she told 2 On Your Side it’s clear the itch to travel has returned for many.

“We work really closely with AAA, and we talk frequently about what they’re hearing, what we’re hearing, and certainly both agencies are hearing that people are interested. They seem to be more comfortable now that a lot more people are getting vaccinated, which is great. I think the airlines have done a fantastic job making people feel safe. That’s the feedback we’re getting,” Tederous said. 

She’s cautiously optimistic the NFTA could see a significant uptick soon, with Easter and Spring Break around the corner and with New York State lifting its quarantine requirement for domestic travel beginning April 1. 

“Certainly we’re hoping for a jump of about 25 to 30 percent, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed and also making sure that people are traveling safely,” Tederous said.

But just because it will be more convenient to travel, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still urging people to put it off and stay home.

Click here for guidelines from the CDC on travel.

Click here for guidelines from New York State on travel. 

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