LEE COUNTY — For the first time ever, Southwest Florida International Airport is closing down one of its concourses.
Concourse C will be closed starting on Thursday due to the lack of people flying during the pandemic. It’s a situation executive director Ben Siegel said he’s never dealt with before.
“We’ve never closed a concourse before at this facility, so this will be a first for us," said Siegel.
Siegel said closing the concourse will not only save money, it will also help put employees where they’re most needed.
“Certain staffing levels with TSA have changed, and we just decided we wanted to be proactive," said Siegel.
Right now, the arrivals and departures board at RSW is only half full. That’s because ridership is down around 90%.
“We’re not alone. I’m on the phone with colleagues all over the country and airports are down anywhere from 90 to 100 percent," said Siegel.
But even though the terminal is pretty empty, Siegel said he’s making sure his staff don’t lose their jobs.
“I have no plans to do furloughs or layoffs, and it is a combination of the CARES Act and my commitment to the employees to maintain our workforce," said Siegel.
Siegel said the CARES Act gave RSW $36.6 million. That’s helping him make sure his whole team gets through this crisis, even if they’re not working at the airport itself.
“They’re working flexible schedules, they’re working from home, and we’re committed as a team to get through this," said Siegel.