Stores and restaurants in airports have been slammed by the pandemic and the falloff in air travel. But travelers are beginning to fly again, offering airport stores signs of hope.
Airline travel in the United States recently reached its highest level since the pandemic began, although it’s still around half of what it was pre-pandemic, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully vaccinated people can resume travel at low risk to themselves but that it still wasn’t recommended at this time because of rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
The recent uptick in travel is helping stores like Hudson, one of the largest airport retailers in the United States. Hudson temporarily closed more than 700 of its more than 1,000 convenience stores in US airports last year during the height of the pandemic. As of March, 635 of them had reopened.
Hudson CEO Roger Fordyce said in an email that, where Hudson stores have reopened, travelers are spending more than they did before the pandemic.
The company recently opened Hudson Nonstop, a cashier-less store using Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology, and plans to introduce the concept to new stores later this year. “We do believe that the recent uptick in travel is driven by the pent-up demand for family visits and vacations by leisure travelers,” Fordyce said. “We are hopeful this trend will continue.”