ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Flying out of or arriving at the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport will look a lot different this week compared to last Thanksgiving as foot traffic is expected to be back to pre-pandemic levels.  

But how will airlines keep up with this demand after delays and pilot shortages impacted the industry over the summer? 

Travelers are taking advantage of this Thanksgiving to take off and see the family they couldn’t see during this time last year. But with this comes a big jump in holiday traffic. So, the Rochester airport encourages you to plan ahead to make your flight on time.  

All this week, staff of the Fredrick Douglas Greater Rochester International Airport is expecting foot traffic to outpace any holiday stretch they’ve seen in over a year.  

“We’ve got 52 departing flights a day which is at the same pre-pandemic level we had in 2019,” Director Andy Moore said. “We’re expecting somewhere around 25,000 departing passengers for the seven-day block of time. Which is the busiest block of time of the year.”  

Data from the Bureau of Transportation shows Rochester already outpaced last year’s holiday traffic in every month of 2022. Since the industry experienced widespread flight delays over the summer due to pilot shortages, Airport Administration expects airlines to adapt to meet demand.  

“The FAA has reports of somewhere around 8,000 pilots are needed over the next decade and so that has created a challenge for the airlines,” Director Moore continued. “But I think the issues that we saw over the Summer has been resolved as the airlines adjust to what the passenger demands are going to be during the holiday travel.”  

Fueling this higher turnout of travelers is fewer concerns of covid infections compared to this time last year. Some passengers we spoke to explained this was their first Thanksgiving visiting family in over two years. So, they left early in the week.  

“I came from Pensacola, FL, and it was a smooth flying experience,” Olivia Bevilacqua told News 8 as she landed from Florida. “I left early this morning, so I’m tired.” 

“It’s a big deal because I get to spend time with my family,” Clinique Jackson added before taking off for North Carolina. “Last year I couldn’t because of Covid but this is better.” 

And remember you can also log onto the airport’s website for up-to-date flight statuses. Or check with the company you’re flying to on the morning of your takeoff.  

Airport management believes the forecast around Rochester will remain calm enough to not cause any delays but wants to remind passengers that storms in other parts of the country can create a domino effect to delay flights coming in.