San Jose and Oakland airports both show big passenger gains in 2022

Passengers arrive at Oakland International Airport, December 2022. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JOSE — San Jose and Oakland airports both soared to huge gains in passenger activity during 2022 — but trips through the travel hubs nosedived in December amid widespread flight cancellations last month.

The upswing in activity at both airports in 2022 suggests the two aviation hubs are beginning to recover from their coronavirus-spawned economic malaise that grounded a great deal of passenger travel in 2020 and 2021.

San Jose International Airport handled 11.33 million passenger trips during 2022, which was up 53.9% from 7.36 million transits by air travelers through the Silicon Valley aviation complex in 2021, new statistics released by the airport show.

Oakland International Airport accommodated 11.15 million passenger transits in 2022, an increase of 36.9% from the 8.14 million air traveler trips through the East Bay aviation facility in 2021, the airport revealed.

Despite the upswing, both airports remain well below the sky-high levels they had achieved prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the resulting business lockdowns that state and local government agencies imposed starting in March 2020.

Oakland airport’s 2022 total was 16.7% below its total of 13.38 million passengers for 2019, the final full year before the coronavirus shutdowns began. In 2018, Oakland handled a record 13.59 million passengers.

San Jose airport’s passenger total for 2022 was 27.6% below the travel hub’s 15.65 million passengers in 2019, which was an all-time record.

During December 2022, San Jose airport handled 902,640 passengers, which was 11% higher than the passengers the airport handled in December 2021.

San Jose airport’s total last month, however, was down 12.5% from the 1.03 million passengers that traveled through the airport in November 2022.

The December decline at San Jose airport snapped a streak of seven consecutive months during which the airport handled at least 1 million monthly passengers. San Jose achieved the million-passenger monthly mark from May through November of 2022.

In December 2022, Oakland airport accommodated 866,700 passengers, which was up 6.6% from the same month in 2021.

Oakland’s passenger total last month was down 10.9% from the 972,460 passengers the East Bay airport handled in November 2022.

Oakland airport produced a string in 2022 of six consecutive months with 1 million or more passengers. That occurred from June through October of last year.

It’s possible that the vast numbers of flight cancellations and trip delays during December, primarily weather related, might have undermined travel activity at both San Jose and Oakland airports.