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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane International sees record number of passengers in 2018

Travelers line up for security screening in the terminal for A and B departures at Spokane International Airport on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. The Spokane International Airport had a record year in 2018 with nearly 2 million enplaned passengers. Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Travelers line up for security screening in the terminal for A and B departures at Spokane International Airport on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. The Spokane International Airport had a record year in 2018 with nearly 2 million enplaned passengers. Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

More people took off from Spokane International Airport in 2018 than ever before, according to airport officials, who reported a 12.6 percent increase in passenger activity from the previous year and a total of nearly 4 million travelers.

“I think we’re seeing more people move to Spokane, for jobs or education,” airport spokesman Todd Woodard said.

He also thinks the increase is due to recovery from the last recession.

“Historically, Spokane has always been slow to go into a recession and slow to come back out of a recession, so this is that pent up demand that you’re seeing, from the carriers responding to where we are economically,” Woodard said.

The most flights were in the summer, with over 1.3 million passengers between June and August.

The airport has made changes to accommodate the increase in traffic, including a new economy parking lot with 1,400 spaces and plans to expand the outside surface parking lot this year. A SpringHill Suites by Marriott should open later this year.

Sandpoint resident Richard Ikenberry said he loves the airport and had not noticed any increase in traffic. Despite his flight being delayed Monday because of weather, he was in high spirits.

“I’ve flown a bunch of different airports, and I’d definitely have to rate Spokane No. 1,” Ikenberry said. “The easiness, the customer service, everything.”

Ikenberry said that when his flight was delayed and resulted in a missed connection, airline employees were able to make new flight plans extremely quickly.

“It took minutes, compared to hours,” he said.

Ikenberry is originally from Southern California and lamented his experiences in Los Angeles International Airport as a point of comparison.

“I think (LAX) is just a nightmare,” he said. “It absolutely degrades people.”

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