These are unprecedented times. They challenge us as people, as citizens, as business leaders, and as members of the community. In response to the profound effect that the COVID-19 pandemic is having, world governments are taking measures to protect and provide for their citizens. These actions are necessary but the impact they are having on the aviation industry is unique and unmatched, and will be felt for a period not yet known. We are a great and strong community, and our strength is in our people. As an industry, we are building on this strength to come together and work with our global partners, stakeholders and governments to navigate through the current crisis and to lay the foundation for our recovery.
Last year marked the 5th busiest year at Tucson International Airport (TUS), and a mere two months ago we were cautiously optimistic we would see continued growth, and possibly serve more than 4 million passengers this year. However, along with all of you, our landscape changed suddenly. As of this week, our passenger numbers have plummeted more than 90% and there are days when we have hundreds instead of thousands of passengers compared with the same day a year ago. This, unfortunately, is nearly the same story at airports across the United States and globe.
Important to know, however, is that airports are considered essential critical infrastructure in the transportation sector, and TUS is open and operating (included under federal guideline and Governor Doug Ducey’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Executive Order and local orders from Tucson Mayor Regina Romero). Furthermore, the employees of the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA), airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), food and retail concession, rental car companies, ground transportation providers and other tenants continue to report for work each day to fulfill their respective logistics role to provide safety and security, assist in the transport of passengers and cargo, including supplies during this emergency, and to support the training, air defense and homeland security mission of the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard, which is headquartered at TUS.
This crisis has affected us all in different ways. It is truly inspiring to see how the Tucson region has come together. To that end, and in an effort to be helpful, links are provided (below) that connect to sources of community information that may be useful to you, a friend, or a loved one.
Please remain safe and well during this time of uncertainty. When you are ready to travel for business or leisure, and whether it’s sooner or later, please know that your airport, TUS, is here for you and will provide you with safety, security and superior customer service.
Danette Bewley, A.A.E.
Tucson Airport Authority