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Passenger count increasing at Monroe Regional Airport

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Airport Director Ron Phillips said the passenger count at the Monroe Regional Airport is increasing.

Phillips said the airport lost around 90 percent of its passengers in April due to COVID-19. However, in the past week, he said it looks as if they’re back to about 45-48 percent of their passenger count pre-pandemic.

“I think the passengers are feeling more comfortable flying with the country opening back up,” he said.

Phillips expects that increase to continue, barring another shutdown.

He said the airport received around $2 million from the CARES Act. They’re still working to reduce expenses.

“And making sure that we, you know, have a plan in place so as those CARES funds deplete, we are able to continue to operate, you know, as normal,” he said.

For example, they’re looking at reducing overtime, and cutting back on what he calls non-critical purchases, like lawn care.

“You know, we take great pride in making sure our facilities are maintained in a pristine condition. So we’re going to still maintain that, but we’re going to try to do that with less temporary labor.”

They’re also looking at ways to increase funding. Phillips said one opportunity could be leasing and selling property around the airport. He said they’re also looking at possibly renegotiating rates with airlines and car rental agencies for things like space and landing fees.

“Where airlines are paying us our rates and charges, we might be able to go in and negotiate, say, 15 to 20 percent additional costs,” he said.

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