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Norfolk International Airport seeing busiest travel months since the pandemic began

The summer is looking busy over at ORF. AAA travel agents share where travelers are jetting off to!

NORFOLK, Va. — Whether by plane, train, or automobile, AAA says one million Virginians will get away this Memorial Day Weekend. That’s 60 percent more than last year!

The urge to escape means more people are packing their bags and flying through Norfolk International Airport.

“Since COVID, this has been the first trip,” said Norfolk resident April Jefferson.

April and Brian Jefferson wasted no time getting out of Norfolk for the weekend.

“We went to Vegas for our 8th Wedding Anniversary, stayed four days, it was amazing,” Jefferson said.

The arrival and departure board is a lot fuller lately at Norfolk International Airport.

“We are actually approaching our 2019 levels, which to put that in perspective, was a record year for us in the history of our airport,” said Norfolk Airport Authority Executive Director Steve Sterling.

Sterling said bookings are only 26 percent less than that record 2019 year.

“The airlines are adding service, there are a number of new destinations that start service at the end of May, beginning of June,” Sterling said.

As new stops open, travelers are dusting off their passports.

“Definitely want to go to the Dominican Republic,” Jefferson said.

“If I had to go anywhere, I’d probably go to Korea because there is a bunch of stuff to do there,” said traveler Charles Dortch.

Travel Agents at AAA Tidewater said popular trips they are booking right now are to Florida, Hawaii, Mexico, and even to Europe for cruises along the Rhine River.

“When people come to us, probably by tomorrow there is even more that’s going to be open,” said AAA Branch Manager Sheila Hale.

The list of open countries expands daily.

If you want to travel overseas, the CDC requires you test negative for COVID before you can board a plane back to the U.S.

Hale said some countries require COVID tests, or proof of vaccination to enter, but protocols change constantly.

“We have to check them when it is time for the client to book,” Hale said.

She said trips are booking up fast as vaccination rates rise.

“If you want that certain cabin, that specific date, you need to come in now,” Hale said.

More flights coming and going means the airport is looking to hire more staff, now. Officials are holding another job fair Tuesday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sterling said they are having some trouble hiring back staff, but if people want a full or part-time position in several fields, ORF has a lot to offer them.

Allegiant Air, Delta, and Frontier have open positions, but the available jobs stretch across the terminals and beyond.

“Anything from cashiers, to wait staff, to customer service, to airline operations, to a driver,” Sterling said. “Just really a number of skills that would be applicable to a variety of jobs at the airport.”

The job fair will be held in the arrival lobby near baggage claim #5.

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