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Syracuse airport ready for busy winter break travel

Payne Horning

Syracuse’s Hancock Airport is braced for some of the busiest travel days of the year. With most schools on break next week, and the President’s Day weekend, 50,000 travelers are expected to fly out of Syracuse over the next eight days.

Airport spokesman Matt Szwejbka said that’s up 10% from last year, which means if you plan to travel, arrive at the airport early.

"We cannot stress enough arriving to the airport two hours before your scheduled departure," Szwejbka said. "Especially if you are flying out during our peak times of 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.”

A year ago, the airport ran out of parking over winter break. Szwejbka said construction of new parking lots, as well as spaces in a new economy lot, were created for surges like this. But he advises travelers to keep their eye on the airport's social media channels.

"We will be sure to get the message out if for some reason we have to say, 'Hey, you might need to find another means of getting to the airport,'" Szwejbka said. "But as it stands now, we believe that we will be able to accommodate all who wish to park at the airport during winter break."

Szwejbka said travel is up from pre-pandemic numbers.

"We simply have more service at the airport," Szwejbka said. "We have 29 non-stop destinations, now we have eight airlines."

According to AAA, most people are heading south — top destinations include Orlando, Caribbean Cruising and Punta Cana. A recent survey by the Automobile Club said there’s an eagerness to travel again, with many travelers looking to make up for lost time after three years of restrictions.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.