If you’ve been self quarantined at home and checking FlightAware to pass the time, you’ve noticed some changes on the scheduled flights into and out of Bangor. The most glaring change has been the uptick in traffic by cargo carrier Cargolux and their 747-400F and 747-8F freighters.
This morning I spoke with Aimee Thibodeau, Marking Manager for Bangor International Airport, she said Cargolux has been coming here for tech stops for flights coming from Luxembourg heading to New York’s JFK International Airport as well as leaving JFK and heading back to Luxembourg.
While they aren’t privy to all of the details of the cargo on board, she said there is a lot of PPE(personal protective equipment) being brought into the country from Europe to help protect our frontline workers here in the U.S. from COVID-19.
Passenger Traffic Changes
Commercial air travel has slowed drastically during the outbreak. In an article by the Washington Post on March 27th, they said that the TSA reported it’s lowest amount of passenger traffic in 10 years on Thursday March 26th at 203,858 screened passengers vs a 2,203,716 recorded on March 26th 2019.
Bangor hasn’t been immune to the drastic drop in passenger counts. Delta Connection flights to LGA have ceased and been switched to JFK. Saturday marked the first day in more than a week that Delta had a flight out of Bangor.
Tomorrow, flights on United Express will switch from Newark’s Liberty International Airport to Washington DC’s Dulles International Airport. Flights from Presque Isle on United Express have switched to Dulles as well.
With the global slowdown of air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been very slow at Bangor International Airport. While the airport is still fully operational, there have been some reductions in hours for airport crews, but there have been zero layoffs at this time.
In social media circles, there have been many people asking why airports are open and why airlines haven’t shut down to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The reality is that airports are required to remain open by the Federal Aviation Administration. Bangor is no exception to this.
The majority of passenger traffic coming through Bangor has been healthcare workers traveling to help combat the virus and military charter flights. Atlas Air flights have been a new addition to the schedule as they typically stop at Portsmouth’s Pease International Tradeport. However, Bangor and Pease worked a swap with Pease’s runway construction, Atlas is coming to Bangor with Pease taking Bangor’s traffic with the upcoming runway reconstruction in 2021 for Bangor.
The lodging ban put in place by Maine Governor Janet Mills caused some problems for flight crews. They are considered essential employees and require places to stay along with the traveling healthcare workers. However, the team at BGR acted quickly and got a plan in place so there isn’t an interruption for those needing lodging.
A huge thank you to all of the essential men and women who are working to keep us safe during this crazy time in our lives. Your actions don’t go unnoticed and we are all thankful for all you do. Stay safe out there.