Richmond’s airport has its best year ever
Passenger traffic at Richmond International Airport has soared to an all- time high.
With more than 3.4 million passengers flying into and out of the airport during the fiscal year that ended June 30, the airport has posted its best year ever, the Capital Region Airport Commission said yesterday.
The year’s traffic represents an 11.5 percent increase over the 2006 fiscal year. Passengers are the lifeblood of airports. “ More passengers mean more parking revenue and concession revenue,” said Doug Blum, the commission’s chief financial officer.
Those two money- makers alone provided Richmond International with almost two- thirds of its $ 38.1 million income last year.
It’s tough to draw conclusions
from just one month. When you stack cargo next to the passenger numbers, maybe
it’s a case of ‘ suffers by comparison.’
TROY BELL Airport spokesman
Parking revenues rose 14.5 percent last year, to $17.2 million. Concession fees from restaurants, shops and rental cars went up 10.8 percent, to $7.8 million.
In June, more than 336,000 passengers used RIC, an 11 percent increase over the same month a year ago.
“ We’ve never had a better month,” said airport spokesman Troy Bell, pointing to strong traveler enthusiasm for low- fare carriers Skybus Airlines and JetBlue Airways and better access to popular destinations.
“ JetBlue was up more than 10 percent and AirTran more than 25 percent from a year ago,” Bell said.
Other air carriers also showed strong gains in June, with United Airlines’ traffic up 14.8 percent from a year ago and Delta Air Lines’ up 12.8 percent.
The airport’s largest single carrier, US Airways, was flat, with a traffic increase of 0.7 percent.
With Skybus’ recent start of discount service to Columbus, Ohio, Richmond now has nine airlines making about 200 flights in and out daily.
“ We’ve been on a good roll,” Bell told the airport commission yesterday.
Cargo traffic was up 2.4 percent for the fiscal year, though June saw a 2.6 percent decline compared with June 2006.
“ It’s tough to draw conclusions from just one month,” Bell said. “ When you stack cargo next to the passenger numbers, maybe it’s a case of ‘ suffers by comparison.’ ”
Richmond International is gearing up to serve even more passengers. The airport:
has just dedicated a $46.8 million expansion of its terminal;
is beginning design on a $ 55 million, 2,700- space expansion of its parking garages, with construction due to begin next spring;
should open a new, 1,000- space surface parking lot next summer; and is making $13 million in improvements to Airport Drive, the main access road for the airport.