Passenger Count Even with 2008; Beats Nationwide Decline of 6%
MILWAUKEE (January 25, 2010) â€“ Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker announced today that the December 2009 passenger count was the busiest on record for the month of December at General Mitchell International Airport. The December total of 728,067 passengers was an increase of 33.91 percent over last Decemberâ€™s 543,679 passengers, and was the first time more than 700,000 passengers used the airport in the month of December.
For the year 2009, Mitchellâ€™s passenger total declined 0.13 percent from 2008â€™s record number. Passenger totals for each of the first eight months of 2009 decreased as a result of flight reductions at Mitchell and airports throughout the U.S. Each of the last four months of the year was a record for that month, however, with enough passengers to bring the 2009 passenger count, at 7,946,562, to just a fraction off the 2008 total of 7,956,968. Nationwide, passenger traffic declined 6 percent in 2009 compared with 2008, according to the Air Transport Association.
Walker said, â€œAirTran, Midwest, Frontier and Delta all added flights to Mitchell in 2009, and with the startup of Southwest Airlines in November, the airport served 600,683 more passengers in the final four months of the year than in the same period of 2008. It was a phenomenal closeout to the year.â€
Airport Director Barry Bateman said, â€œThe number of passengers from northern Illinois and the northern Chicago suburbs taking advantage of Mitchellâ€™s low-fare service continues to grow. For the last six months of 2009, the number of Illinois cars in our parking areas averaged over 10 percent. Milwaukee/Chicago is a busy region for air travel, and Mitchell International has become one of the most price-competitive airports in the nation.â€
With 48 markets, Mitchell International has moved up to 28th among U.S. airports in number of markets served nonstop, according to new data published by the Brookings Institute. Mitchellâ€™s rank in a similar 2004 study was 34th. The new ranking means that more nonstop markets are served out of Milwaukee than out of other Midwestern cities, such as Nashville; Pittsburgh; Indianapolis and Columbus, and out of medium-sized cities elsewhere in the U.S., including Portland, OR; Austin; New Orleans; San Diego; Raleigh/Durham; Albuquerque; San Antonio and Hartford, CT.
The average airfare out of Milwaukee was lower than the average at 75 other U.S. airports, according to the latest U.S. Department of Transportation statistics (2nd Quarter 2009). Mitchellâ€™s average fare was about $44 less than Oâ€™Hareâ€™s and $28 less than the nationâ€™s average fare.