Local airports taking a hit from significant travel decline

BECKLEY/LEWISBURG, WV (WOAY) – March and April are typically when airports start to see their business pick back up. However, that trend has shifted downward because of COVID-19.

The Beckley Raleigh County Memorial Airport is seeing a significant decline in travel, some days not having any travelers at all.  

“The airport is open. However, we have very little activity due to the national emergency that has been put out warning people of the dangers of the virus and how it can be spread,” Airport Manager Tom Cochran said. 

Over at the Greenbrier Valley Airport in Lewisburg, the airport is experiencing similar trends as they are seeing a 95% drop off in commercial travel.

Airport Director Brian Belcher says they are also experiencing about a 50% decline in private travel for people with private planes.

“Which is a big, big thing for small airports like this airport or Beckley or Bluefield because we’re the fixed base operator,” Belcher said. “We own and operate and sell our own fuel to the private industry, so we’ve seen a drop in that area also.” 

Both airports are taking extra precautions in their cleaning and marking off public spaces in the terminal as they hope to get through this on the other side balancing both business and safety. 

“It’s a very hard time for the country and we’re gonna do our part to get through it,” Belcher said. 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.