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Coronavirus pandemic impacting holiday travel at Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Gerald R. Ford International Airport logo
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

In 2020, the usual hustle and bustle of holiday travel at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is anything but.

“Last year at this time around 7,000 people came through the building. Now, we’re going to expect around 3,000 to 4,000.”

That’s roughly half the usual holiday traffic. It’s welcomed business in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

Alex Peric is Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s COO. “We are experiencing an uptick from the average day. So, our average day now is around 2,500 passengers through the terminal building.”

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a focus. Earlier this year the airport began educating the travelling public launching the Fly Safe, Fly Ford program. Throughout the concourse and terminals there are social distancing markers, hand sanitizing stations, sneeze guards additional cleaning crews and electrostatic fogging every night.

“The return of passengers obviously depends upon confidence in air travel, the vaccine, restrictions possibly at other airports upon entry.”

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport was one of the first airports in the country opening a COVID-19 testing drive-through for both the public and travelers.

“And we expect it to get busier during the Christmas holiday travel season. Cost for the testing will be $75 for the rapid antigen, $125 for the molecular PCR or $160 for both tests.”

While COVID-19 testing is a new twist to holiday travel, arriving two hours before your flight remains a standard.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.