MINNEAPOLIS -- The Metropolitan Airports Commission recently announced total passenger traffic at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) fell to 14.9 million in 2020, 62% less than in 2019.

The severe drop in passengers echoes similar significant losses suffered by other U.S. airports and airlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to take a toll on global air travel, a release said.

Before the pandemic, MSP had 10 consecutive years of total passenger growth, reaching a record 39 million passengers in 2019. MSP was trending to surpass 2019 levels into early March of last year, when the pandemic forced a dramatic global decline in passenger demand and flights.

MSP passenger levels dropped more than 95% under pre-pandemic levels by late April. It supported 244,911 aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings) in 2020 versus 406,076 in 2019, a decline of about 40%.

December passenger levels spiked around Christmas. However, the total number of passengers for the month was still down 66% compared to the number of passengers in December 2019.

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The slow recovery of passenger travel and operations that began in late spring 2020 was supported by industry-wide adoption of safety initiatives. MSP implemented rigorous cleaning protocols as soon as the first impacts from the pandemic were felt, the release said.

MSP has seen a moderate recovery of routes since March 2020. In the final week of January 2021, there are 155 active routes (134 domestic and 21 international).

The number of suspended routes is 61 (43 domestic and 18 international). Airlines are operating a schedule of 299 average daily departures versus 469 in January 2020. February's schedule is anticipated to increase to 304 average daily departures versus 471 in February 2020.