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Wisconsin’s larger airports preparing for Memorial Day travel

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(WKOW) -- Memorial Day weekend is nearly here, and airports are getting ready for a much busier summer season than last year, with more people comfortable flying again.

For the past 14 months, airports have touted the safety of their spaces for travelers, and now with the benefit of hindsight, they say those efforts have worked, at least at Dane County Regional Airport and Mitchell International in Milwaukee.

And with those efforts of constant disinfecting of surfaces, social distancing efforts, and mask usage working, they plan to continue.

While the mask mandates in Dane County and Milwaukee are set to expire at the beginning of June, airports are under different mandates, those set by the federal government.

And those are not slated to be removed as of now.

On upfront Sunday morning, Mitchell International Airport director Brian Dranzik said it's not been much of a problem.

"It really just comes down to reminding people what the rules and regulations are," Dranzik said. "If someone has their mask down we just simply remind them hey can you please put your mask back up covering your nose and mouth and really we haven't seen too may issues related to that."

Even with all those safety precautions in place, both at Mitchell and Dane County, they're seeing many more passengers coming in.

"Once the vaccine got out, it was a much quicker increase," Michael Riechers with Dane County Regional Airport said. "We expect Memorial Day weekend to be exactly that uptake and travel that we're excited we're looking forward to because this is a safe and efficient process in every regard, for sure."

They agreed that there's been a pent-up demand for travel ever since a record low amount of trips last year, and data shows that travelers are going to more than make up for that.

According to AAA data, they're expecting 2.5 million people to take planes to travel this Memorial Day weekend.

That is a 577 percent increase from last year.

However, the pandemic is still making an impact.

Despite that big jump from last year, it's still nearly 25 percent down from before the pandemic.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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