Passenger traffic at Fort Wayne International Airport increased 11 percent in 2015, making it the sixth straight year of growth for the airport and the highest year-over-year growth since the early 1990s.
The number of people boarding flights at the airport was 359,051 in 2015, compared with 324,151 in 2014. Compared with 2009, when the current growth trend began, the number of passengers boarding planes at the airport has increased 35 percent.
When both people boarding and getting off planes are counted, growth was also 11 percent.
New nonstop flights helped build momentum in growth, said Scott Hindman, executive director of airports for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority.
Hindman also credited the community’s support of the airport for the growth in activity.
The airport does have more seats available leaving Fort Wayne, said Jessica Miller, marketing coordinator for the airport.
The number of flights was up 11.4 percent from 2014 to 2015, and the number of seats available was up 11.1 percent.
Passengers’ willingness to fly out of Fort Wayne rather than Indianapolis or Chicago was affected by more nonstop flights to popular destinations but also a narrowing of the gap in the cost of flying out of other airports, Miller said. U.S. Department of Transportation figures show that the average domestic one-way flight cost $196 from Fort Wayne, $190 from Indianapolis and $180 out of Chicago.
Daily nonstop flights out of Fort Wayne include those to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. Twice-weekly nonstop flights are also available to Orlando/Sanford, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda and Tampa/St. Petersburg in Florida;and Phoenix/Mesa in Arizona. Seasonal flights are also available to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Smith Field also experienced record growth in 2015, selling 70,787 gallons of aviation fuel compared with 58,030 gallons in 2014.