(Cedar Rapids, IA): March made the fourth straight month of record passenger travel for The Eastern Iowa Airport. Starting in December 2013, The Eastern Iowa Airport has experienced month after month of record breaking numbers. Through the toughest winter in 20 years, the airport is weathering the storm very well.
March was the most recent record breaker with a total of 109,793 passengers flying in and out of The Eastern Iowa Airport. This broke the previous record set last year of 98,435 passengers. This was a 10.6 percent increase month over month bring the year to date increase to 7.7 percent over last year at this time.
February also produced a second straight year of record number of travelers with 82,830 passengers, eclipsing the previous same month record of 79,359 passengers in February 2013.
A total of 83,664 passengers used the airport in January, topping the previous same-month record of 81,690 passengers in January 2007. Finally, a total of 89,869 passengers traveled through the airport in December, beating the previous same-month record of 87,552 set in December of 2002.
“March was a busy month for us.” Said Tim Bradshaw, Airport Director. “It was the first time since we expanded the parking lot that we had to go into overflow parking. We knew it would be a good month, but to see an over 10 percent increase over last year was astonishing important link.”
Possibly contributing to the increase in passenger traffic is a decrease in average fares according to United States Department of Transportation statistics looking at the inflation-adjusted average domestic itinerary fares. The Eastern Iowa Airport has seen a 35 percent decrease in the average cost of domestic itinerary fares since 2000 from an average of $569.57 in 2000 to $370.29 in 2013. Of even more significance is the year over year chance from 2012 to 2013. Last year there was a decrease of 16.5 percent from an average fare in 2012 of $443.25 to $370.29 in 2013.
The Eastern Iowa Airport is now facing constraint issues. “We are back to where we were before the recession,” said Bradshaw. “It is really driving our improvement projects and moving some items up on the list.”
The continued growth is driving renovations and upgrades to the 27 year old terminal. To alleviate some short term constraints, the airport will be adding a passenger boarding bridge to the B gates, currently ground boarding only. In 2016, the plans are in place to build a second concourse at the B Gates that will add two additional passenger boarding bridges, expand the hold rooms in the C concourse, and expand the security check point.
Starting in April of this year, the terminal modernization project will start with the addition of a new canopy to the front of the building, renovated lobby, ticketing area, and baggage claim, and energy efficient upgrades to improve the use, function, and carbon footprint of the terminal. They will also begin a 5 year parking lot and pavement improvement project.