Sacramento International Airport
(SMF) is rebounding from the pandemic and it’s happening faster than originally expected. As of this week, the Transportation Safety Administration’s throughput – the number of passengers screened at the airport – is more than 88% of July 2019 levels. That year, SMF hit an all-time high of 13.3 million travelers and the airport leadership is optimistic the airport is on track for a full recovery within the next 12-18 months.
“People are shaking off their cabin fever and ready to travel again after more than 15 months of restrictions,” said Cindy Nichol, Sacramento County Department of Airports Director. “We are excited to welcome travelers back and to be part of providing them a safe, convenient and memorable travel experience.”
July is traditionally the busiest travel month for most U.S. airports, outpacing the fall and winter holiday season. It’s a time when families tend to travel the most because kids are out of school. Travel to visit friends and relatives is also a major travel driver during the summer months. SMF has multiple daily flights to major U.S. hubs like Denver and Las Vegas, making it easy to visit anyone, anywhere. Not only are people flying domestically to see friends and family, they are also taking advantage of SMF’s nonstop flights to other family affinity markets like Guadalajara and Leon, Mexico.
Mexico is also desirable for its many beach destinations. A new JetBlue flight from SMF to Cancun is proving to be very popular with travelers, as is the weekend nonstop to Cabo San Lucas. Despite Hawaii’s strict restrictions at the peak of the pandemic, the islands are once again at the top of travelers’ lists. Nonstops on Hawaiian and Southwest Airlines provide easy access to Maui and Oahu every day of the week.
“After July, we should begin to return to our normal passenger levels and I’m optimistic that we will be fully recovered by the end of 2022,” said Mark Haneke, Director of Air Service Development and Marketing for Sacramento International Airport. “We are already outperforming the recovery at Bay Area airports, demonstrating that SMF is the airport of choice for Northern California.”
There is more to look forward to this fall as well. Southwest will be launching two new routes – twice daily nonstops to Palm Springs on October 7 and a four times a week nonstop to Kona, beginning mid-December.