COVID-19 causes 80 percent drop Des Moines Airport passenger traffic

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- DES MOINES, Iowa -- The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is causing a dramatic decline in the number of people flying into and out of Des Moines International Airport.

"Last Monday is when our passenger traffic really took a dive. We're running about 80 percent reduced passenger traffic through the terminal compared to last year at the same time" says Airport General Manager Kevin Foley.

He says, at this time of year, the airport would usually see between 5,000 and 6,000 passengers screened by Transportation Security Administration officers in a day. That number's dropped to about 800 passengers a day, something Foley says the airport usually sees in just a few hours.

"Because of the international component to this, it's probably worse than 9/11. Certainly for the airlines, because there's just no international traffic at all. This is just something no one's ever dealt with before" he says.

Foley also says reduced passenger traffic and COVID-19 restrictions means many of airport's restaurants are closed. He says shops that sell newspapers, books, and magazines are either closed or open for limited hours.

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