San Jose, Oakland airports post-COVID flights soar during October

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San Jose and Oakland airports posted passenger activity numbers in October that topped the one million mark — yet the flight activity at both aviation hubs remains far weaker than before the coronavirus outbreak.

For several consecutive months, the South Bay and the East Bay aviation hubs have managed to handle at least one million passengers.

Oakland International Airport has been above the million mark for five months in a row, while San Jose International Airport is on a six-month streak for that activity benchmark, according to separate reports from the two airports.

San Jose airport handled 1.08 million passengers in October, which was 12.1% higher than the roughly 821,200 passengers that flew through the South Bay travel hub in October 2021, new airport statistics show.

Travelers in baggage claim area at Oakland International Airport Terminal 2, December 2020. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

Oakland airport handled 1.04 million passengers in October, up 10.4% from the approximately 825,800 passengers that transited through the East Bay aviation complex in October 2021, the airport reports.

Yet even with these respective upswings in passenger activity, both San Jose and Oakland airports have a long way to travel before they can climb back to the heady heights they enjoyed prior to March 2020, the onset of coronavirus-linked business shutdowns and travel restrictions.

Over the most recent one-year period ending in October, San Jose airport has averaged 920,200 passengers a month.

In contrast, San Jose airport averaged 1.3 million passengers a month during 2019, the last calendar year before the start of the coronavirus shutdowns in 2020 a collapse of air travel both in the Bay Area and worldwide.

This means that the per-month activity at San Jose airport during the most recent one-year period was 29.2% below the per-month average in 2019, a year when the South Bay airport handled an all-time record of 15.65 million passengers.

Oakland airport averaged 911,800 passengers a month during the one-year period that ended in October.

In 2019, the East Bay aviation hub averaged 1.12 million passengers a month in 2019.

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