The phenomenal three-year surge in passenger traffic at Spokane International Airport continued with an increase of almost 10 percent during September.
In September, 250,251 travelers passed through the airport, reflecting a 9.85 percent growth over September 1994.
During the first nine months of 1995, 2.2 million travelers got on or off airplanes at Spokane International, an 11.46 percent increase over the same period in 1994.
Airport officials project that the airport’s passenger mark will hit 3 million this year for the first time in the airport’s history.
The passenger traffic increases continue to offer challenges to airport managers trying to keep up with the double-digit growth that has occurred almost every month since 1993.
Preparations for the busy holiday travel season include finishing an employee parking lot that will free up about 450 more parking spaces for the traveling public, according to Mark B. Jucht, finance manager.
“Last year we were able to handle all the busiest (holiday travel) days without a glitch,” Jucht said. “One of the reasons was there was no snow. Snow can certainly add another degree of difficulty to things.”
The additional parking spaces will help, he said, as will the public transportation options with Spokane Transit bus service now available between the airport and downtown.
About 60 people a day are currently riding the buses, Jucht said, and many of those are airport employees. Although shuttle parking services and taxi services at the airport expressed concern that the bus service would hurt their airport business, Jucht said, “we haven’t heard of any negative impact from the commercial people.”
The huge growth in passenger traffic has seemed to create enough business for everyone, he indicated.
Horizon Air continued to lead other carriers with 35 percent of the departing passenger market at the airport in September. Southwest Airlines was next with 28 percent of the market, followed by United Air Lines with 17 percent.
Spokane International’s total cargo activity expanded by 7.4 percent for the month and was up 9 percent for the first nine months of the year.