SFO is welcoming back some international routes this week and next even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to depress air travel numbers.
While air travel has grown somewhat since March and April, traffic at SFO is still down 95% from June of last year.
“We are seeing some airlines restoring some international service,” says SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel. “All Nippon Airways resumed passenger flights to Tokyo earlier this week.”
United Airlines resumes flights to Frankfurt, Germany Thursday and next week British Airways resumes passenger flights to London.
Despite the uptick in traffic, Yakel says tourism still has not resumed. “There are still health orders in effect that limit travel to essential needs only, so health orders have not allowed for travel purely for tourism. So that’s certainly a factor.”
State officials have consistently said tourism will return when we reach stage four of reopening down the line, and a big bump in travel is not expected until then.
Some airline analysts say the pandemic is likely to depress travel for some time even after restrictions are lifted, and it could take as much as three years for pre-pandemic levels of travel to return.