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Port Authority: Airport travel down 73% from pre-pandemic times

COVID-19 information is displayed at an international terminal

COVID-19 information is displayed at an international terminal at Kennedy Airport. Credit: TNS/Spencer Platt

Kennedy, LaGuardia and other Port Authority-run airports had 73% fewer passengers in January compared to the same month in 2019, the authority said, another example of the pandemic's toll on the region.

Vehicles passing through bridges and tunnels fell by more than 10% in January 2021 from the same time in pre-pandemic 2019, according to data released Tuesday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The statistics come as the Port Authority estimates a $3 billion revenue loss, starting from March 2020, the agency reported. Travel had come to a halt in March of last year after efforts began to slow the coronavirus pandemic and quarantines became mandatory or advisable for nonessential workers. In 2019, a record 140.5 million passengers flew in and out of the metropolitan airports.

The Port Authority also operates Newark Liberty Airport, Stewart International Airport in Orange County, and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

The authority again urged the federal government to provide money to help make up for the losses over the past year.

"The bi-state agency continues to advocate in Washington, D.C. to secure federal funding to offset this steep revenue decline," the authority said in a statement. Cheryl Ann Albiez, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority, said they are in the midst of compiling stats for the number of airport passengers.

Vehicles crossing the Port Authority’s four bridges and two tunnels totaled 8.3 million in January, down 10.6% compared to January 2019. Automobile traffic was down 10.4% and truck traffic declined 1.3% in January compared to the month in 2019. PATH service fell by 79% in January from January 2019.

Amid the plummeting numbers, a highlight was the Port of New York and New Jersey, where cargo volume increased by 16% in January 2021, the authority said.

"The seaport continued to demonstrate resilience and ended January 2021 with an increase of 16% from January 2019," the agency reported.

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