One year ago this weekend, there was a mad scramble to get back to Boston Logan International Airport, after a state of emergency was declared in Massachusetts due to the spread of COVID-19.
In the coming months, terminals looked like ghost towns and runways at the once-bustling airport were empty.
The airport was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The Massachusetts Port Authority cut its workforce by 25%. Retail shops and restaurants saw businesses drop dramatically.
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"It’s been a difficult year. There’s been a lot of adjustments that have been needed to have been made," said Binni Patel, marketing and customer service manager for Boston Logan Marketplace.
Those adjustments included temporarily closing some stores and restaurants. But some eateries have reopened and now there are vending machines full of personal protective equipment, two COVID-19 testing centers and a new contactless food delivery service.
“We’ve made decisions based on what will the traveler need for their experience to be as positive as possible,” she said. “As more passengers pass through, we’ve been able to have more of our concession businesses open and available to the passengers.”
The numbers from Transportation Security Administration tell the story of how much passenger traffic has dropped at Logan.
The airport had averaged 58,000 passengers a day in 2019, but in 2020, it plummeted to 9,300, according to TSA data. Its lowest point was April 14 when the TSA screened just 1,100 passengers.
So far in 2021, Logan is averaging 13,100 passengers a day.
“It’s been quite the challenge,” said Michael Iudice, TSA deputy assistant federal security director, but one he said has kept them on their toes.
Even as passenger numbers start to go up, the agency says precautions will remain in place.
"We’ll continue to do what we’re doing. Monitoring the cues and making sure there’s social distancing out there, making sure folks have their masks on," Iudice said.
The TSA is hiring agents, officials said, and travelers are slowly coming back too. A lot of people are now starting to think about flying again as well.
"I just got vaccinated so hopefully it will help with safety," said Inaia Lesser, of Boston.
"I think we’re finally at the tail end of this, I hope at least, and I think a lot more people feel safer to do so as well," said Boston resident Sabrina Beaudry.