Ford Airport lists safety measures as flyers remain few


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Aiming to get people back in the sky, Gerald R. Ford International Airport is launching an education campaign to show passengers the health safety procedures it has put in place.

The virus has wreaked havoc on passenger numbers at the metro Grand Rapids airport. In May, they were down 96% from the same time last year. That has improved — but only slightly — to between 75% and 80% of last year’s figures.

The airport says its new “Fly Safe. Fly Ford” initiative aims to make prospective passengers more comfortable flying. It laid out all the things it is doing to fight the spread of the coronavirus, including putting up 6-foot social distancing signs and plexiglass barriers, cleaning more frequently, installing hand sanitizer stations and encouraging the use of masks.

“As passengers walk through the building from the parking garage all the way to the aircraft or the jet bridge, passengers will see signage throughout the facility asking passengers to please wear facial coverings,” airport Chief Operating Officer Alex Peric told News 8 Monday. “They’ll see placards on the floor and certain areas of the building to help make passengers aware that social distancing is necessary.”

If you don’t have a mask, they will be for sale all over the airport.

Peric added that all airport workers, not only those selling food, are wearing masks.

“Airportwide, it’s really been a message that we have pushed and a lot of our partners, our business partners, employees, airlines have adopted,” he said.

The airport sold its small size as an advantage in safety efforts, saying it is easy to control and clean the space, as well as train workers on new procedures.

“It’s been positive for the most part,” Peric said of passengers’ response to the new safety protocols, adding that most questions are still about whether flights are running.

—News 8’s Lynsey Mukomel contributed to this report.

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