Passenger traffic at Springfield-Branson National Airport rebounded in 2021, resulting in the fourth-best year on record.
The airport today announced that there were 968,227 total passengers in 2021, a 61.7% increase from 598,604 in 2020, according to a news release.
"The recovery is good news for southwest Missouri," airport officials said in the release. "That’s because airport passenger numbers tend to reflect the economic health of the region – when the local economy is strong, more people fly. When weaker, fewer people fly."
The top year on record for the airport came before the COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe downturn in traffic counts during 2020. The record of 1.2 million passengers was set in 2019. All of the top six years for passenger traffic at the airport have occurred since 2015.
Springfield Business Journal last month reported the airport surpassed 2020's total by September. Brian Weiler, the airport’s director of aviation, said pent-up demand amid the pandemic fueled domestic air travel during 2021.
“People just want to get out,” he told SBJ in December. “With the pandemic, people wanted to get away to vacation or visit loved ones they haven’t seen in a long time.”
During 2021, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air began offering direct flights to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas and the Punta Gorda Airport in Florida. Additionally, the airport’s new 55,000-square-foot maintenance hangar designated for Envoy Air Inc., a subsidiary of American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL), was completed, according to past reporting.
The expanded facility is expected to reach annual revenue of $650M.