Nationally, airlines are changing flight schedules rapidly in response to the COVID-19 virus, but there have not yet been any reductions in flights at Des Moines International Airport, said Kayla Kovarna, communications, marketing and air service development manager.
Currently, there are no indications from any of the airlines serving Des Moines that there will be flight reductions, Kovarna said at midday today. “We are anticipating there will be some changes; we just don’t know the extent of what those will be,” she said.
Kovarna said it’s difficult to gauge whether many spring break or business travelers have made changes in their travel plans out of Des Moines, as they would be making cancellations directly with the airlines. She said that anecdotally, the volume of morning vehicle traffic for the “business push” of flights has been down about 15% over the past couple of weeks.
February’s passenger numbers, which were just released last week, were “quite strong,” Kovarna said, up 8.7% over the previous February. The March passenger figures, which will be out by mid-April, will provide an early snapshot of how much coronavirus affected air travel.
For those passengers with flights scheduled 72 hours or more in the future, the best bet for making changes or cancellations is to do so through the airline’s website, rather than attempting to telephone the airline. Kovarna heard that a passenger who did use the phone to cancel spent about six hours waiting on hold.
Meanwhile, DSM International is doing everything it can to make passengers feel comfortable by maintaining a heightened disinfection and cleaning schedule, particularly for high-touch areas, Kovarna said.