OKC airport en route to record yearPublished: Friday, October 13, 2017 By: Brian Brus Source: The Journal Record
Increased passenger capacity and a strengthening local economy has Oklahoma City airline traffic on its way to record numbers, Will Rogers World Airport officials said.
By the end of the third quarter of the calendar year, total boarding passengers were 4 percent greater than the previous year, according to airport data. By Sept. 30, the airport recorded 1.43 million enplanements, compared with 1.38 million through September 2016.
September by itself showed little change at about 158,000 enplanements for both years, a difference attributed to slower traffic elsewhere in the airline network caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“We didn’t have any flights to Houston for nearly a week,” airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said. “A lot of those people were rerouted, and it certainly impacted their final destination decisions. … We probably would have had an even bigger increase except for that.”
This summer, Allegiant added weekly nonstop flights from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles International Airport. That brought the airline’s total direct destinations out of Will Rogers to four, including Destin-Fort Walton Beach in Florida; McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida.
As of July 16, the airlines reported a total of 6,670 seats leaving Oklahoma City daily. On July 17, that number rose to 7,317.
Carney said the additional capacity helped boost an already strong traveling season between school semesters. The passenger count jumped from 148,000 in April to 179,000 in May and nearly hit 190,000 in July before coming back down again to 166,000 in August.
“And then when you look at the economy, it looks as though we’ve weathered the energy industry downturn and are starting to see some improvement,” she said.
Carney said that if the trend continues, the municipal airport’s year will end at its largest enplanement total. The current record was set in 2014 at 3.8 million.