San Jose and Oakland international airports each have extended a robust string of results for passenger activity — yet both aviation hubs remain well below the trends they posted before the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest air travel activity results from the South Bay and East Bay airports show that while both travel facilities have returned to sturdy levels of monthly passenger travel, the two aviation hubs are still struggling to reclaim the pinnacles they had reached ahead of the arrival of the coronavirus.

San Jose International Airport handled slightly more than 1.09 million passengers during August, which marked the fourth straight month that the South Bay aviation complex served at least one million monthly passengers.

Oakland International Airport handled slightly fewer than 1.09 million passengers in August, the third consecutive month at one million or more passengers served by the East Bay travel hub.

Over the four most recent months, San Jose airport has averaged 1.08 million passengers a month, while Oakland airport has averaged 1.06 million passengers a month in the same period, from May 2022 through August 2022.

These recent periods, however, have yet to climb to the monthly passenger totals the two airports were enjoying during 2019, the final year before the coronavirus torpedoed the worldwide economy in general and the travel and hospitality sector in particular.

San Jose airport’s most recent average of 1.08 million passengers a month is 16.9% below the average of 1.3 million passengers a month that the airport achieved during 2019, a Bay Area News Group analysis of the San Jose flight statistics shows.

Oakland airport’s recent four-month average of 1.06 million passengers was 5.4% below the average of 1.12 million a month during 2019 for the East Bay airport.

Still, despite these disappointing results, the overall trends at the two airports point towards improvement.

San Jose International Airport averaged 908,900 passengers a month during the first eight months of 2022. That’s 49% higher than the average of 610,000 passengers a month for all of 2021 for the South Bay aviation hub.

Oakland International Airport averaged 906,221 passengers a month during the first eight months of 2022, an increase of 33.3% over the average of 680,000 passengers a month during 2021 for the East Bay complex.

Travelers in baggage claim area at Oakland International Airport Terminal 2, December 2020.
Air travelers in baggage claim area of Oakland International Airport, December 2020. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

San Jose airport is on pace to handle 10.91 million passengers in 2022 if the current monthly average for the entire year persists. Oakland airport, using the same metrics, is on pace to handle 10.87 million passengers in 2022.

Both of these projected numbers, however, would be far below the record heights to which the two airports had previously soared, according to statistics previously released by the two airports.

In 2019, San Jose airport reached an all-time record high of 15.65 million passengers. In 2018, Oakland airport handled a record-high 13.59 million passengers.