The final count is in and it’s official: 2018 went down as the first year in history that 1-million passengers used the Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF).
“1,075,425 passengers used the airport in 2018,” says Brian Weiler, the airport’s Director of Aviation. “That’s an 8.3% increase over last year and it sets a yearly passenger record for the fourth consecutive year. On behalf of everyone at the airport, I want to thank the community for pushing us past the one million passenger milestone.”
A million passengers a year is a milestone not only for the airport, but for the community. It’s a symptom of a growing region, and a strong local economy — SGF passenger numbers have grown 43% since 2013. Nationally, airport passenger numbers in 2018 grew approximately 5.5%. SGF’s growth was 8.3%.
While the pace of future growth is uncertain, it’s expected to continue.
“All the signs are there,” says Weiler. “Most flights leave Springfield nearly full, or sold out. The airlines provide excellent non-stop service to six major hub airports, plus seven vacation destinations. These are good indications of continued growth.”
The airlines seem to agree —
“In the past year the airlines have brought support services to Springfield that they haven’t had here before,” says Kent Boyd, the airport’s air service development manager. “As we got closer to the million passenger mark, one airline added a second de-icing truck. Others put aircraft mechanics at the airport on a full time basis. In years past the airlines didn’t think there was enough business in Springfield to justify these additional resources. The fact that they’re doing it now tells us the airlines are bullish on Springfield passenger growth. And from the customer’s perspective it’s a good deal because it should mean fewer flight delays due to aircraft mechanical issues.”
For its part, the airport plans to expand its parking lots and rental car facilities in 2019. 300 parking spaces were added just two years ago. In the coming year at least 300 more spots will be added to keep up with growth.
Other parts of the airport continue to grow as well. Air cargo transported by carriers UPS and FedEx grew 5.5% to 30,613,895 pounds in 2018. Aviation fuel to airlines and general aviation aircraft grew 13% to 7,954,421 gallons.
Four airlines serve Springfield: Allegiant, American, Delta, and United. They provide service to 13 non-stop destinations: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Orlando, Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers, and Destin/Ft. Walton Beach.
— January 14, 2019