The Springfield-Branson National Airport officially exceeded the 1-million passenger benchmark for the first time in its history.
The airport announced this morning that during 2018, it had 1.08 million passengers, a goal it’s sought and nearly conquered in recent years, according to a news release. The airport in December released a report about its passenger record, though the projection with assistance from the Missouri State University math department wasn’t yet final.
“That’s an 8.3 percent increase over last year and it sets a yearly passenger record for the fourth consecutive year,” airport Director of Aviation Brian Weiler said in the release.
The airport in 2017 had 993,129 total travelers, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Other statistics released this morning show air cargo at the airport transported by UPS and FedEx grew by 5.5 percent to 30.6 million pounds, and that aviation fuel to airlines and general aviation aircraft rose 13 percent to nearly 8 million gallons last year. As demand increases, the airport this year plans to add at least 300 parking spots.
Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines provide nonstop flights to 13 destinations from the Springfield airport, according to its website.
“As we got closer to the million passenger mark, one airline added a second de‐icing truck. Others put aircraft mechanics at the airport on a full-time basis,” said Kent Boyd, the airport’s air service development manager, in the release. “In years past, the airlines didn’t think there was enough business in Springfield to justify these additional resources. The fact that they’re doing it now tells us the airlines are bullish on Springfield passenger growth.
“And from the customer’s perspective, it’s a good deal because it should mean fewer flight delays due to aircraft mechanical issues.”
The passenger record comes amid a potential change in management for the airport, as city officials are considering a switch to a stand-alone authority model.
This is the fourth hangar at the Springfield-Branson National Airport for OzAir Charter Service.