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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Travel through Spokane Airport rises 3.2 percent in 2016

Jan. 24, 2017 Updated Tue., Jan. 24, 2017 at 5:02 p.m.

A Southwest Airlines departure lifts off at Spokane International Airport Tuesday October 11, 2011. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
A Southwest Airlines departure lifts off at Spokane International Airport Tuesday October 11, 2011. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Travelers stepped on and off commercial planes 3.2 million times at Spokane International Airport last year, which was a 3.2 percent increase over 2015, year-end numbers show.

That also was the highest number since 2008 and 2007, two years that saw record-high travel of 3.4 million departures and arrivals.

Horizon Air, the regional airline that handles 29 percent of passenger traffic through Spokane, saw its numbers grow by 5.5 percent over 2015, the airport said.

The biggest year-over-year change in passenger numbers came in the fall. Travel was up 9.8 percent in November, likely due to airlines adding more seats and flights that month, said Todd Woodard, the airport’s marketing director.

And for the first time in a couple of years the airport posted a decline: Passenger numbers last March were down 3.9 percent over the same month a year earlier. That may have been due to spring break travelers who returned home in early April, Woodard said.

Travelers originating in Spokane last year saw more daily flights to Seattle by Delta Air Lines to feed its international hub.

Alaska, which brought back its daily service to Boise in 2015, added a third daily flight on that route last year.

One of the biggest service additions in 2016 targeted summer fliers itching to go north. Alaska Airlines offered weekly nonstop service to Anchorage, Alaska, between June 11 and Aug. 27 – the first such service to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

For this year’s summer travel season, Southwest Airlines will offer daily nonstop service between Spokane and San Diego from June 4 through Aug. 14. Those flights will offer connections to 12 cities across the U.S.

Marketing research shows that more than 90,000 people travel annually each way between Spokane and San Diego.

Air cargo moving through Spokane totaled 67,375 tons in 2016, with the majority of that handled by FedEx.

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