Walker Announces 2008 A Record Year At Mitchell Airport

January 12, 2009

Passenger Count Nears 8 Million

MILWAUKEE (January 21, 2009) – Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker announced today that General Mitchell International Airport served a record number of passengers in 2008. Concluding 17 straight months of record growth, the passenger total for the first eight months of 2008 was up 9.4 percent compared to the same period in 2007, but following flight reductions at Mitchell and airports throughout the U.S., the passenger total for the last four months of 2008 decreased 10 percent. For the year, the passenger total of 7,956,968 represented a 3.17 percent gain over 2007′s record 7,712,535 passengers.

“The significant increase in flights and nonstop destinations out of Milwaukee last spring and summer led the way to Mitchell’s record numbers,” said Walker. “Passengers found plenty of competitive airfares from each of Mitchell’s 12 airlines.”

Airport Director Barry Bateman said, “Airfares out of Milwaukee continue to offer a great bargain for both vacationers and business travelers. For less than $250, passengers who book soon can take a nonstop spring break flight to, for example, Orlando, Phoenix, Denver or New York.”

Bateman noted that many passengers from northern Illinois or destined for Chicago from another city use Mitchell as a lower-cost alternative. In 2008, there were 18,000 more cars with Illinois license plates in Mitchell’s parking lots than in 2007. Average airfares out of Mitchell were lower than those at 58 other U.S. airports, ($35 lower than O’Hare’s and $25 lower than the national average) in 2Q 08 according to the most currently available U.S. Department of Transportation statistics. “For many Rockford and Lake and McHenry County residents, Mitchell is closer and more convenient than the other Chicago airports,” he said.

Mitchell has more daily nonstop flights to more cities than the five airports ranked above and below Mitchell in terms of annual passengers.

General Mitchell International Airport is owned by Milwaukee County and operated by the Department of Transportation & Public Works, Airport Division, under the policy direction of the Milwaukee County Executive and the County Board of Supervisors. The airport is entirely funded by user fees; no property tax dollars are used for the airport’s capital improvements or for its day-to-day operation. For more information on Mitchell International, visit www.mitchellairport.com.