Walker Announces Arrival Of 8 Millionth Passenger Of 2010 At General Mitchell International Airport

October 29, 2010

One Lucky Passenger Wins Prize Package Including Free Southwest Airlines Tickets

MILWAUKEE (October 29, 2010) - Milwaukee County officials and representatives from Southwest Airlines were on hand at General Mitchell International Airport this morning to welcome the 8 millionth passenger to use the airport this year. The arrival represents the first time more than 8 million passengers have used the airport in a single year, and highlights 12 months of record passenger growth.

“Mitchell International Airport continues to thrive in an industry that, in other locations, is struggling,” said Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. “This event is a milestone for Milwaukee County and I applaud our airport staff and all our spectacular airline partners for the continuing growth of this airport,” said Walker. Walker also cited additional air service, including the start of service by Southwest Airlines last November, and low airfares as factors that have fueled the increase in passengers.

The lucky 8 millionth passenger was Carol DeSoto who arrived on Southwest Airlines Flight #404 from Baltimore Washington International Airport at 9:25 a.m. Carol is visiting Milwaukee for her parents’ 60th wedding anniversary and was surprised to find out she was the lucky passenger. Airport Director Barry Bateman presented Carol with a new Mitchell Airport suitcase filled with goodies to commemorate the occasion. Southwest Airlines’ Brad Hawkins was also on hand to celebrate the milestone and kick off Southwest’s one-year anniversary of starting service at MKE. He presented Carol with a pair of roundtrip tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies.

Airport Director Barry Bateman said, “We are very pleased to see that our growth is not only from southeastern Wisconsin area, but in large part from northern Illinois travelers who are making the under-60-minute drive and taking advantage of our lower fares and less hectic atmosphere than found at O’Hare.”

The number of passengers using Mitchell International in 2010 has already exceeded 2009′s record total of 7,946,562, although the final 2010 count will not be known until late January.

Market Data: U.S. Department of Transportation data for 2nd Quarter 2010 (most recent) show that the average airfare out of Milwaukee dropped lower than the average at 93 other U.S. airports. Mitchell’s average fare was $93 less than O’Hare’s, $78 less than the nation’s average and $10 less than Midway’s. Out of the nation’s top 100 airports, Mitchell was one of only three at which average 2nd Quarter airfares were lower in 2010 than in 2009.

Airports Council International reported that during the 2nd Quarter 2010, Mitchell was the third fastest-growing airport in the world, exceeded only by airports in Istanbul, Turkey and Moscow, Russia. Mitchell was the only U.S. airport among the top 30 fastest growing airports worldwide.

With 56 markets, Mitchell has moved up to 28th among U.S. airports in number of markets served nonstop, according to data recently published by the Brookings Institute. Mitchell’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 Kansas City; 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.