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INDIANAPOLIS — March Madness brought a small boost in air travel back to the Indianapolis International Airport.

That coupled with Spring Break travel, brought travel numbers that compared similarly to numbers in 2019, says Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. He said it was a boost for the whole region.

“Remember, we came from nothing,” Rodriguez said to Inside Indiana Business. “Last year, 2020, we only had 43-percent (of travel) compared to 2019.”

Rodriguez, a long-time expert in air travel, said the coronavirus pandemic sparked an evolution in air travel and in business overall.

“What’s actually interesting is that normal business airlines have reduced in capacity around 20-to-25-percent,” he said. “But the ultra-low-cost carriers, which are normally associated with going to southern fun places and going on vacation have increased their capacity over 30-percent.”

Rodriguez said there are now more low-cost airlines than there were in 2019.

“Although business travel is always incredibly important and will remain incredibly important, said Rodriguez. “Some travel will because unnecessary because you can do it via virtual meetings and that’s happening more and more and the airline industry is evolving and we are evolving.”

He said though the pandemic was certainly tough to navigate for everyone, he believes that it actually accelerated the evolution of business in the U.S. Rodriguez added many businesses were likely to go to more virtual formats in the future, but that the pandemic made it happen sooner.