Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP) has second-best year in last 10

Even with a passenger load less robust last month than the previous two Decembers, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport enjoyed a big 2016.

The Pittston Twp. airport finished its second-best year for passenger boardings since 1999, with 233,244 people flying on departing commercial jets last year, a 5.6 percent increase from 2015, and 7.9 percent higher than 2014.

Only 2011 had more passengers since 1999 — 233,990, or 746 more than last year.

The airport saw 18,466 passengers board departing planes in December, down almost 1,000 from December 2015, and symbolizing how narrowly the airport missed having its best year since 1999. In 1999, passenger boardings hit 238,193, one of six years during the 1990s with at least 230,000 passengers, according to airport statistics.

The airport’s standing record for commercial airline passenger boardings remains 246,987 in 1990.

Airport Director Carl R. Beardsley Jr. attributed the improvement “first and foremost to the support of the local community,” but said the airport is beginning to attract travelers from as far away as Williamsport and Binghamton, New York.

“I think that our market has been important in making people more aware of the types of services we have and the customer service at the airport,” said Mr. Beardsley, who ran the Greater Binghamton Airport before arriving as director in January 2015.

Travelers also seem to be learning that their savings in seeking lower-cost flights at distant airports sometimes dissipate when time, fuel, overnight stays and parking are counted, Mr. Beardsley said.

“These all add up and can take away the savings you can see if you’re going elsewhere,” he said.

As demand rose during the year, three major airlines that use the airport added flights — Allegiant to Tampa, Florida;

American to Charlotte, North Carolina;

and Delta to Atlanta, Georgia

— and began sending larger jets to the local airport to pick up passengers.

“I think the airlines have a belief in the airport now,” said airport board chairman Patrick O’Malley,

crediting community support spurred by Mr. Beardsley for the difference. “They wouldn’t come across with more flights and larger planes unless we were getting the community support.”

Source:   http://thetimes-tribune.com

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