Ai­port passes record by 415K trav­el­ers

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - BY DARLA SLIPKE Staff Writer [email protected]­la­homan.com

Will Rogers World Air­port broke the 4 mil­lion mark in 2018 while achiev­ing its second-con­sec­u­tive record-setting year for pas­sen­ger traf­fic, air­port of­fi­cials an­nounced this week.

A to­tal of 4,341,159 pas­sen­gers passed through the air­port last year, out­pac­ing the pre­vi­ous record set in 2017 by 415,801 trav­el­ers. That’s an in­crease of­more than 10 per­cent. “We’re pleased to see the sig­nif­i­cant growth and con­tin­ued growth at the air­port,” said Karen Car­ney, an air­port spokes­woman. “... It’s a re­flec­tion on our com­mu­nity and what’s hap­pen­ing here and the econ­omy and a lot of the good things that are hap­pen­ing like the street­car and the con­ven­tion cen­ter.

“We think this is just an­other bench­mark of what’s hap­pen­ing in our com­mu­nity and the suc­cess it’s en­joy­ing.”

Key air ser­vice an­nounce­ments, which cre­ated more op­tions for Ok­la­homa trav­el­ers, played a role in the num­bers gain, Car­ney said. “When­ever you have new ser­vice, it seems to stim­u­late pas­sen­ger traf­fic,”she said.

Some of the big air ser­vice an­nounce­ments re­cently have in­cluded South­west Air­lines adding daily non­stop ser­vice to Ron­ald Rea­gan Washington National Air­port (DCA) in Ar­ling­ton, Va., and weekly ser­vice to Nashville. Amer­i­can Air­lines added non­stop ser­vice to Philadel­phia and to Phoenix, Car­ney said. Amer­i­can

Air­lines will also add non­stop ser­vice to Ron­ald Rea­gan in Fe­bru­ary.

Al­le­giant Air added more flights to Destin, Florida, and Los Angeles.

Sev­eral car­ri­ers added larger air­craft, which cre­ated more ca­pac­ity for Ok­la­homa City fly­ers, Car­ney said. “Just by the fact that we had more places to go, more seat­ing ca­pac­ity, that stim­u­lated the mar­ket,” she said. “But that goes hand-in-hand to your econ­omy and busi­ness and growth in busi­ness.”

The growth val­i­dates the air­port’s up­com­ing ex­pan­sion project, which will add four new gates, a new check­point and other fea­tures, Car­ney said.

Air­port of­fi­cials ex­pect to break ground the first week in March and an­tic­i­pate com­plet­ing the project in the first quar­ter of 2021.

[PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OK­LA­HOMAN ARCHIVES]

Trav­el­ers wait in Novem­ber to board flights out of Will Rogers World Air­port in Ok­la­homa City.

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