Number of air passengers increased in 2021

Cape Air numbers were up in December 2021 over the previous year. — Courtesy CapeAir

Updated 5:52

Martha’s Vineyard Airport director Geoff Freeman said there was a significant increase in 2021 for enplanements, compared with “COVID-2020.” He presented the numbers to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission during a Thursday afternoon meeting. 

Cape Air saw its passenger numbers more than double in 2021 compared with 2020. Freeman said the airline saw 619 passengers in December 2021, while only 291 passengers traveled on Cape Air to Martha’s Vineyard in December 2020.

Freeman also showed how many total passengers boarded planes at the airport, where carriers include American Airlines, JetBlue, Cape Air, and Elite Airways. In 2020, 15,657 passengers enplaned at Martha’s Vineyard Airport. In 2021, that number jumped to 65,992 passengers. Commissioner Kristin Zern asked Freeman how many passengers were traveled through the airport in 2019, to which Freeman answered 50,351. 

“We definitely had an increase,” Freeman said. “COVID-related, I believe: the lockdowns in Europe, and people’s want to travel. So, 2021 is going to be a skewed year, as 2020 was. So, it’ll be a little bit hard to evaluate until we get through the 2022 summer season.”

The last time the airport had empanelment numbers went over 60,000 was in 2001. 

In other business, the airport received a couple of grants. One was a $1.26 million grant from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which commission treasurer Robert Knabel said is expected to come in by the end of the month. The other was $54,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Airport Safety and Maintenance Program for a pavement crack sealer, which will need to be signed off on by commission chair Bob Rosenbaum and Dukes County manager Martina Thornton.

The committee unanimously approved a work order for McFarland Johnson to do a scoping analysis for rates and charges for commercial airline terminals. If the model is ready, Freeman will show it in March. The work order costs $36,000. 

Freeman told the committee about a couple of analyses happening at the airport. A cyber security review called New Era Technology will assess the airport’s cybersecurity capabilities. Meanwhile, the firm HMMH will be doing a noise study at the airport. 

Freeman also said a 5K fun run is in the works. The airport is discussing with the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office collaborating on the run, with a target date of this fall at the airport. He is hoping to get Islanders to become more familiarized with the airport, a place residents see comparatively less than the Steamship Authority terminals. Freeman said partnering with the Amity Running Club to design the run was also an option. Any proceeds would be split between the David Luening Memorial Scholarship for aviation and programs of the sheriff’s office. 

Updated with correct grant amount for the pavement crack sealer and an addition saying the proceeds for the 5K would also go to the programs of the sheriff’s office.