Nov 10, 2021 - News

What to expect at Philadelphia airport after travel restrictions lifted

The air traffic control tower at Philadelphia Airport.

Air traffic control tower at Philadelphia International Airport. Photo: John Greim/Getty Images

Philadelphia International Airport is expecting to see more passengers after the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from over 30 countries on Monday.

What's happening: While passenger volume on international flights will increase, most flight plans at PHL — an American Airlines trans-Atlantic hub and gateway to Europe — will stay the same, for now.

What they're saying: PHL flight routes that had been canceled due to the restrictions won't return until 2022, said Heather Redfern, a spokesperson for the city's Division of Aviation.

  • "People will start to see more travelers on those flights," Redfern said.

By the numbers: The number of international flights at PHL is down nearly 49% in November compared to the same time in 2019, Redfern said.

  • International service at PHL in November accounts for only 5.5% of total flights and 7% of total seat capacity, compared to 7.5% and 9.6% respectively during the same time in 2019.

Context: The nation's now-lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place in early 2020, Reuters reported.

  • The rules barred entry for most non-U.S. citizens traveling from dozens of countries, including China, Britain and India.
  • The U.S. also reopened land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated travelers this week, the Associated Press reported.

Of note: Seven international routes will return to PHL in December, including those to Cozumel, Mexico; Santo Domingo and Santiago, Dominican Republic; and St. Lucia.

  • These routes were scheduled to resume before the lifting of restrictions.

What's ahead: American Airlines is expected to reveal its summer 2022 international flying schedule by the year's end.


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