Friedman Memorial Airport saw more demand for commercial bookings last month than it did in May 2019, according to unofficial enplanement data presented by airport Manager Chris Pomeroy on Tuesday.
Thirty-two percent more passengers boarded commercial jets at Friedman in May 2021 than they did in May 2019, continuing a favorable enplanement trend for the airport.
Pomeroy said the increase in enplanement activity last month could be a product of Delta’s newly added flight between Sun Valley and Salt Lake City.
“The caveat is in 2019 we only had twice-daily Salt Lake City flights,” he said. “In 2021, we have three-times-daily Salt Lake City flights. So, it isn’t really an apples-to-apples comparison, as we have increased capacity this year.”
Operations—or the number of takeoffs and landings recorded by the air traffic control tower— reflect both private and commercial aircraft activity. They hit new highs this spring—in March and April, takeoff and landing totals hit their highest marks since 2011 and 2013, and May 2021 operations were up about 38% last month over May 2019.
Overall, Friedman Memorial Airport recorded more takeoffs and landings between February and May 2021 than it did during same period in 2019. The airport recorded about 2,185 takeoffs and landings in February 2021, for example, an 84% increase from the 1,187 takeoffs and landings recorded in February 2019. That trend continued through March, April and May.
“The [May operations] number was similar to 2017, but higher than 2018 and 2019,” Pomeroy said.
Commercial flights were between 60% and 62% full in March and April this year, up from 50% full in March 2020 and only 3% in April 2020.
With COVID-19 winding down, Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley conference is set to return to the valley early next month. Airport officials said Tuesday that they expect the event—as usual—to generate significant private jet activity on the tarmac.
“This will be on the heels of the July Fourth holiday, so we’re expecting a very busy few weeks of activity,” Pomeroy said.
The conference, scheduled for July 6-11, routinely attracts some of the world’s most famous tech moguls and business tycoons. Regular attendees include Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg.
On Thursday, Google Hotels and Sun Valley Resort’s reservation system showed no availability at the resort’s Inn or Lodge for those early-July dates.