CORONAVIRUS

Cedar Rapids airport to survey travelers on safety plans

Passengers down, but freight up

Terminal maintenance worker Mike Skow walks in one of the entrances after cleaning door handles at The Eastern Iowa Airp
Terminal maintenance worker Mike Skow walks in one of the entrances after cleaning door handles at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids earlier this month. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Eastern Iowa Airport plans to survey its business and leisure travelers about what steps they would like taken in expectations of air travel ramping up once COVID-19 restrictions are loosened.

“We are in the very early stages of formulating questions,” Airport Director Marty Lenss said.

“We want to make sure that we are doing the things that ensure the general public is confident of the airport and doing what they want to see. We’re going to talk the customer versus assuming we know what the customer wants.”

This comes as passenger traffic at the Cedar Rapids airport dropped 44.4 percent in March compared with the same month of 2019 — evidence of the impact of the restrictions put into place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

A total of 33,435 people traveled out of the airport in March 2020, down from 60,076 in March 2019. The drop-off occurred after three straight years of record increases in passenger travel.

March traditionally is one of airport’s busiest months, with thousands traveling for spring break.

However, freight traffic is up 23.4 percent over 2019.

Also related to the pandemic, the airport is anticipating delivery of two foggers this week that will spray a sanitizing mist in areas of the passenger terminal.

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“The solution that the machines use is a charged particle that adheres to the surface to disinfect,” he said. “It is a product that hospitals use to sanitize all sorts of surfaces.

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