(Columbia, S.C.) – The unprecedented events of 2020 had a severe impact on the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE hereafter).
For year-end 2020, parking revenue was down 56%, airline revenue was down 35%, tenant revenue (to include rental cars, retail and concessions) was down 31% and CAE closed the year with a total loss in revenue of nearly $9 million.
But, despite the challenges that came with COVID-19, CAE didn’t slow down. Instead, work ramped up on a number of projects that helped lay the groundwork for the airport to head into 2021 focused on moving forward.
At the start of the year, CAE launched two significant projects:
- A brand refresh complete with a new logo, new brand colors and a new website,
- And the installation of a parking guidance system in the parking garage. This system allows passengers to quickly see which parking spots are available, indicated by red and green lights over each spot.
In the summer, as passenger traffic significantly slowed, the CAE team continued work on:
- Making campus wide updates and improvements that included landscaping, painting and cleaning,
- Developing and launching the Art in the Airport program,
- Creating a new online newsletter, Takeoff to Touchdown,
- Partnering with Magnus Partners to create 803 Industrial Park – an effort to increase business development opportunities on airport property,
- And launching an online pre-book parking system, allowing travelers to save on parking rates for extended stay visits.
One of the highlights of 2020 at CAE was the addition of low cost carrier, Silver Airways. This addition to the lineup of airline carriers bolstered the number of available air service options to the traveling public – something the team is always working to do.
What’s next at CAE? In the months and years to come, additional, large-scale projects will be taking place inside the terminal to enhance and improve needed operational functions, making the traveler experience even easier. The replacement of all escalators in the parking garage and throughout the terminal (both on the landside and airside) is currently in progress, and the in-line baggage system will begin in the summer of 2021.
“Without a doubt, this past year was one of the hardest and most challenging for CAE,” said Mike Gula, Executive Director of CAE. “In spite of it all, this team remained strong. We focused on those things that were within out control, while continuing to deliver the service we’re known for. 2021 is a new year with new opportunities and possibilities and we look forward to what’s to come.”