By Laura Finaldi, Staff Writer, Herald Tribune, 6/12/2019
161,435 passengers are welcomed in May, a 39.9% increase over the same month a year before.
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport set a record for passenger traffic in May following a spring season when several new flights took off for the first time.
The airport welcomed 161,435 passengers last month, a 39.9% increase from the same month a year before.
Year-to-date passenger traffic at Sarasota-Bradenton is also up 38%, according to the airport.
The record-setting traffic makes sense, considering Sarasota-Bradenton has added two new carriers, 23 new routes and 18 new destinations in the past year and a half.
Two low-cost airlines joined Sarasota-Bradenton’s fleet in 2018. Allegiant Air launched with year-round, nonstop service to Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in April and today operates 12 routes at Sarasota-Bradenton, including Asheville, Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Nashville, Richmond and Syracuse.
Frontier Airlines also began service at Sarasota-Bradenton in 2018 — flights to Atlanta, Philadelphia and Cleveland started in December.
Other existing carriers expanded their service offerings at the airport in 2018. American Airlines announced new routes to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport and United Airlines increased the frequency of its flights to Newark, New Jersey.
The airport now has eight airlines providing nonstop service to 29 destinations.
Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, said that the airport has also seen an increase in food and beverage sales, gift shop purchases and rental car and parking lot revenue. In 2018, the airport lowered its landing fees by 50% with less than half the growth it has seen this year, he said.
“The increased revenue should lead to even lower rates and charges to the airlines and further encourage continued growth,” Piccolo said.
He said that the airport will likely have more new route announcements soon.
“We are extremely grateful to the community for supporting all the new air service we have received over the past year,” Piccolo said.