Pandemic Results in Historic Passenger Ridership Decline For Port Authority in 2020

PORT AUTHORITY CLOSES YEAR WITH HISTORIC VOLUME DECLINE ACROSS TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES IN DECEMBER 2020 DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Airport passenger volume in December 2020 down 75% from 2019

PATH average weekday ridership in December 2020 down 79% from 2019

In December 2020, bridge and tunnel traffic decreased 19% from 2019 levels

Seaport cargo volumes in December 2020 increased 21% from 2019

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported precipitous volume declines across its transportation facilities for December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In December, volumes at the airports dipped to 25 percent of 2019 volumes. On PATH, the system saw just 21 percent of passengers compared to December 2019. Both of these figures represent modest increases since aviation and rail volumes hit respective nadirs in the spring of 2020 but have remained relatively flat for the past several months.

At the agency’s six crossings in December, overall vehicular traffic was down 18.9 percent compared to December 2019, however truck traffic was up 1.9 percent.

The seaport continued to demonstrate the same resilience it has shown throughout the pandemic, with December cargo volumes up 21.3 percent from December 2019.

With the release of its December 2020 data, the agency also released annual total volumes for 2020, which reflect data from the first two months of the year when the trend of record-breaking volumes continued across facilities prior to seeing the severe impact of the pandemic.

For the full 2020 calendar year, the Port Authority reported a 71-percent drop in annual passenger volume at its airports between 2019 and 2020, a 68-percent drop in average weekday ridership at PATH between 2019 and 2020, and a 20-percent drop in volumes for 2020 at its tunnels and bridges compared to 2019 totals.

The seaport, which saw robust demand for goods during the pandemic after experiencing a dip during the spring, held steady overall with an estimated 1.5 percent increase from 2019 in cargo volume.

Due to the adverse financial impacts of the pandemic, the agency estimates a revenue loss of approximately $3 billion for the 24-month period beginning in March 2020 compared to budgeted amounts. This precipitous loss in revenue is reflected in the Port Authority’s estimated revenue loss for 2020 of $1.7 billion as reported in the2021 Budget, which was approved by its Board of Commissioners in December 2020. The Port Authority continues to work closely with the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations to advocate for federal assistance.

Airports:

In December 2020, passenger volumes across the Port Authority’s airports decreased an estimated 75 percent compared to December 2019. This was up since the nadir of passenger activity in April 2020, where activity was 98 percent compared to April 2019.  Passenger volumes in December were down an estimated 78 percent at John F. Kennedy International Airport, 68 percent at Newark Liberty International Airport, and 79 percent at LaGuardia Airport compared to the same month last year.

Total passenger volumes in 2020 were down an estimated 71 percent across the Port Authority’s airports compared to 2019. Annual passenger volumes decreased an estimated 73 percent at John F. Kennedy International Airport, 66 percent at Newark Liberty International Airport, and 73 percent at LaGuardia Airport compared to 2019. In 2019, the airports had served a record high of 140 million passengers.

PATH:

In December 2020, PATH reported an average weekday ridership of 55,355 riders, down 78.5 percent from December 2019. This reflects the increase in ridership since the nadir of activity in April 2020, when ridership had decreased by 95 percent compared to April 2019.

PATH reported 2020 annual average weekday ridership of 90,287 riders, down 68 percent from 2019. This includes pre-COVID-19 ridership numbers for January through mid-March 2020.

TB&T:

In December 2020, the four bridges and two tunnels handled a total of 8.4 million vehicles, down 18.9 percent compared to December 2019. Automobile traffic was down 19.7 percent, and truck traffic was up 1.9 percent.

The Port Authority’s four bridges and two tunnels handled a total of 97.8 million vehicles in 2020, a decrease of 20 percent compared to 2019. Automobile traffic was down 20.4 percent, and truck traffic declined 6.6 percent.

Port:

In December 2020, the seaport moved 709,075 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), an increase of 21.3 percent from December 2019.

The seaport saw record-breaking cargo volumes in August and September 2020 as production factories, retailers and shoppers restocked supplies and prepared for potential regional shutdowns. Cargo activity is expected to remain strong into 2021 as the single outlier among the Port Authority’s facilities.

The Port of New York and New Jersey moved 7,585,819 TEUs in 2020, an increase of 1.5 percent from 2019.

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Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information or for updates from the Now Arriving blog, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.

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