Air traffic soars at OKC, Tulsa airportsPublished: Monday, July 16, 2018 By: Brian Brus Source: The Journal Record
Traveler numbers are soaring into the summer at Will Rogers World Airport at a rate of more than 10 percent greater than last year, officials said.
In June, about 208,000 passengers got on planes at the city-owned airport, an increase of 20,000, or 10.6 percent, from the same month in 2017. It’s not a summer spike, either: For the calendar year to date, Will Rogers reported an 11.7-percent increase.
The trend is being reflected at Tulsa International Airport as well, spokeswoman Michelle Brooks said. The latest data shows an increase of 8.2 percent in passengers for the year to date.
“It’s a mix of things,” Brooks said. “We’re definitely seeing a better economy with more consumer spending and lower unemployment rate, which is helping to create more discretionary income. And that feeds into a lot of new, low-cost carriers out of our market.
“Basically, people are deciding to go on their adventures in airplanes rather than cars,” she said.
Will Rogers airport spokeswoman Karen Carney agreed with Brooks that the economy, nationally and locally, is driving the trend. Oklahoma City got a huge jump-start with a 17.4-percent increase for the month of January in year-over-year comparisons. Bad weather weakened the trend in March, but every other month’s numbers have been strong since then.
American Airlines led the pack at Will Rogers with a 22.8-percent jump for June. The airline’s most recent route adjustment was to add a direct flight to Phoenix in April. Southwest Airlines recently announced a new direct flight to Washington, D.C., but that won’t launch until the fall.
Nationwide, air travelers are expected to increase by about 3.7 percent this summer compared with last year, according to the industry trade group Airlines for America. The organization has also projected a record 246.1 million domestic passengers for the summer.