PITTSTON TWP. — Passenger numbers at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport nearly set a record in August.
Carl Beardsley, airport executive director, said passenger enplanements for August increased 6.8 percent to 25,522 from 23,891 in August 2017.
“This was the second-highest month in our history for passenger travel.” Beardsley reported. “The only month that was higher was in July 2017.”
Beardsley said the increase is mainly attributed to American Airlines’ new service to Chicago O’Hare.
And if it weren’t for the cancellation of some 38 departing flights, the record may have been broken. Of those 38 cancelled flights, 35 were for air traffic/weather, 2 for no crew and 1 for mechanical issues. Also, 36 arriving flights were cancelled: 35 for air traffic/weather and 1 for mechanical problems.
Dave Pedri, Luzerne County manager, stopped Beardsley to commend him and the airport staff for the impressive numbers report.
“This is a significant accomplishment,” Pedri said. “Especially since we no longer offer the (Allegiant Airlines) non-stop to Florida flights. This is the second-highest month on record — congratulations.”
Beardsley said American Airlines has expanded flights to Chicago, Charlotte and Philadelphia. He said the airport will begin offering flights to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4.
At August’s Bi-County Airport Board meeting, Beardsley reported passenger enplanements for June 2018 decreased 4.1 percent to 23,368 from 24,378 in June 2017. However, despite the drop from the year prior, Beardsley said this June marked the second-highest June ever.
Beardsley reported the June 2018 decrease was mainly attributed to the loss of Allegiant service to Orlando/Sanford and Tampa/St.Petersburg. He said the search for a replacement for the non-stop-to-Florida service continues, but nothing has been found to date.
Earlier this year, Beardsley said replacing Allegiant was a “top priority.”
Beardsley also said the airport’s business from the lower tier of New York has increased dramatically, as evidenced by the increased number of New York license plates on cars parked at the airport. He attributed the increase to the decision to advertise in the southern New York tier region. He said there has also been an increase in users from New Jersey.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.