COLORADO SPRINGS — Even though airline travel is down due to COVID-19, the Colorado Springs Airport is still seeing record business when it comes to general aviation.
"The aviation industry has seen quite a bit of a downturn in air service due to COVID-19," Colorado Springs Airport Public Communications Specialist Dana Schield said.
The newly renovated commercial airline terminal at the airport hasn't been able to fully show itself off lately.
"Year to date we are down probably about 50 percent in comparison to where we were last year," Schield said.
But just across the runway, the opposite is true.
"For year to date General aviation is seeing about a 16.4 percent increase from this time last year," she said.
As it turns out, people still want to fly.
"People, especially the business side of things are considering alternative ways to travel," she said.
There's more to general aviation than just business travelers.
"GA's really a reflection of the beginning of the aviation industry if you will, because we do have flight schools over there," Schield said.
Flight schools like Frank Schultz's.
"I would say demand is up," Schultz said.
He and his two business partners, who are all pilots for Frontier Airlines, operate Direct Connect Flight Academy. Many of their new students are joining for a common reason.
"Career change," Schultz said. "The notion of hey, I always thought about being a pilot, never had an opportunity, I raised my kids, or I went a different direction."
Other students of his were already "students."
"We've seen a lot of students, because their schools have shut down," he said. "And they've called us and said hey I was thinking about doing this."
Even as things back across the runway are quiet, business is still taking off.
"There's more than just commercial flights going on at the airport," Schield said. "We obviously aren't through this yet but I think that's how we've been a little more advantageous than other agencies."