Local fliers decline
Last Modified: April 18. 2013 9:01AM
PITTSTON TWP. – The loss of two daily routes is being blamed for the decrease in passenger activity the past few months at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
Passenger enplanements were down 8.3 percent year-to-year in May, according to airport data. That accounts for 1,746 passengers fewer than the number flying out of the local airport in May 2011.
Airport Director Barry J. Centini said there may be several factors at play but the most obvious to him was the loss of two American Airlines flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in November. He said the loss of 150 seats per day was a major factor in the declines that began in March and continued in April and May.
But added seats to existing flights plus the new non-stop flights to Orlando that began Thursday should help stem the tide.
In addition to a recently added Delta flight to Detroit, that airline added 15 seats to its daily Atlanta flight. U.S. Airways added 13 seats to its morning flight to Charlotte, N.C., 17 seats to its afternoon flight to Charlotte and United Express upgraded two of its four daily flights to Newark, N.J., by 13 seats each.
Centini said also playing into the decline this year was that 2011 was a very good year for the airport and even with the declines the numbers are still than the year-to-year comparisons with 2010 figures. This May’s enplanements are up 10.1 percent when compared to May 2010.
So far in 2012, enplanements have fluctuated month to month: They were down 22 in January; up 2,155 in February; up 167 in March; down 708 in April; and down 1,746 in May. Year to date, through May, enplanements are down 0.2 percent or 154 passengers.
Centini said these sorts of swings are common.