Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority believe it will take years for air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels — at least until 2024, according to its proposed 2021 budget.
MWAA said it expects airlines at its two airports, Reagan National and Dulles International, will finish the year with about 7.4 million passengers put on planes, a significant drop from the 24.3 million in 2019.
The pandemic ends a 10-year streak of increased passenger turnout for the two airports. Next year, MWAA anticipates about 13.5 million people to fly out of Reagan and Dulles.
MWAA’s estimate of a multiyear recovery is based on a number of factors. Traffic returning is dependent on how quickly the local economy recovers. MWAA, in its projections, said there is not yet a clear indicator for how quickly business or leisure travel will return.