Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

TYS estimates: April flights will be cut in half, passenger totals down 85 percent

An airport spokesperson said the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on McGhee Tyson traffic since mid-March.

ALCOA, Tenn. — Across the nation, major airline carriers are slashing routes because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

United Airlines cut its April and May schedules by approximately 50 percent. Delta cut its capacity over the next few months by 40 percent.

McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville is already seeing those impacts.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on flights into and out of McGhee Tyson Airport since mid-March," airport spokesperson Becky Huckaby told 10News. 

As of April 1, Huckaby said they anticipate the number of scheduled flights leaving McGhee Tyson Airport in April will be down 50 percent. Passenger numbers are expected to drop by 85 percent.

The airport is anticipating flight cancellations will continue as Americans comply with President Trump's Coronavirus Guidelines for America and Gov. Bill Lee's Safe at Home order.

Credit: TYS
Of the 22 flights scheduled to take off between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on April 1, half of them were cancelled.

"We are open and will continue to provide flights that support our nation’s critical functions such as essential travel, medical transportation, supply delivery, and cargo operations," Huckaby said.

On March 12, the airport announced its staff is increasing their normal cold and flu season cleaning efforts due to COVID-19.

  • Restrooms are cleaned hourly with multipurpose cleaner, de-greaser and sanitizer.
  • No contact vapor sterilizers are used daily with hospital grade disinfectant.
  • Hand sanitizer is in all airport restrooms.
  • The airport has increased cleaning of highly used areas of the terminal building where passengers and guests are.  

On March 28, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19.

Most of the flights departing to and arriving from those areas April 1 were canceled. 

RELATED: REAL ID deadline pushed back a year due to COVID-19

RELATED: 'It's getting worse': United Airlines to cut flights 50%

RELATED: Delta slashes flights by 40% as virus cripples global travel

RELATED: Trump ban on travel from Europe escalates pain for airlines