KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wednesday was the busiest Wednesday at Kansas City International Airport since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were 20,231 departing passengers screened at the new single-terminal KCI, which is the most for any Wednesday since 2019.
KCI officials expected more than 20,000 outbound passengers on Thursday and Friday, marking the biggest traveling weekend for the region’s primary air-travel hub in four years.
“We can officially say we are consistently back to pre-pandemic levels of passenger volume,” Joe McBride, the communications manager for the Kansas City, Missouri, Aviation Department, said in an email to KSHB 41.
KCI reported 944,234 total passengers, arrivals and departures, in March 2023. That represents the most passengers at the airport in any month since December 2019.
KCI set a record for passengers in a month with 1.15 million in July 2001. Its busiest year came with 11.91 million passengers in 2000, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
The air-travel industry, which was rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, had nearly recovered completely by 2019 before COVID-19 brought the industry to a grinding halt.
2018 and 2019 were the second- and third-busiest years in KCI history, according to data from the airport.
The declaration that KCI passenger traffic has returned to pre-pandemic levels comes a year earlier than the industry forecast.