WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — After a dismal 2020, Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) President and CEO Iftikhar Ahmad says T.F. Green Airport is seeing an increase in the number of travelers and seat capacity.
“Airlines are ready to fly,” Ahmad said during an interview with 12 News anchor Kim Kalunian.”They have their planes ready, they have their pilots ready, and they are waiting for passengers to show up.”
Watch the full interview in the video below.
Although more people are becoming comfortable with traveling, Ahmad said data shows it is going to take several years for their numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels.
“It’s not because the airlines don’t want to fly or they don’t have the equipment, it is definitely the demand side,” Ahmad said, adding that business and international travel numbers are lagging behind leisure travel numbers.
“We are dependent on when people want to fly and we are dependent on passengers coming back,” he said.
When asked about a push from state lawmakers to change the name of T.F. Green Airport to the Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport, Ahmad said the request actually came from airlines, not travelers.
“They wanted a geographical identifier in the name, and that is how the conversation started,” he explained.
Ahmad said whatever the consensus is on the airport’s name, the RIAC will support it.
“It all comes back to the passengers and demand,” Ahmad said. “If passengers know where the airport is, it will benefit the economy.”