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Airport business continues to suffer despite passenger increase

American Airlines flight at Tulsa International Airport
Posted at 1:11 PM, Aug 19, 2020

TULSA, Okla. — When the coronavirus first began, the airline industry suffered its impact first, including the many businesses that surround airports.

Now, passenger-numbers are slowly returning to the airport, but businesses who rely on the airport are either closed or struggling to stay afloat. That holds especially true for one hotel at Tulsa International Airport.

The Hilton Garden Inn, just down the road from the airport, still cannot support a full staff.

Hotel manager, Matt Driever, said it’s been a roller coaster since the beginning of the pandemic. Just as occupancy began to increase by the end of July, August brought another crash to the business.

The Inn’s occupancy, closely tied to the airport's air-travel, lost more than 60 percent of its business, leaving Driever no choice but to furlough more than 90 percent of his staff.

“We’re just trying to maintain the standard and keep things safe as best we can to provide for our guests and keep everyone safe, healthy and sane,” Driever said.

Since March, airport officials say it’s been a “ghost town.” However, now, the airport is showing a more positive trend. Passengers are down 59 percent which is up 36 percent from back in April. Additionally, a $15.7 million grant, funded through the CARES Act, allowed the airport to retain 100 percent of its employees.

We're taking a closure look on the impact businesses are experiencing on the News at 6 on 2 Works for You.

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