Flier numbers up again at Sacramento International Airport

Passenger numbers are up for the fifth straight month, Sacramento International Airport officials report, the first time the airport has seen such an increase since 2007.

Seven percent more fliers used the local airport in August than the same month the previous year. Traffic is up 2.4 percent overall in 2014 compared with 2013. “This is an important milestone for us, and we are cautiously optimistic that we are in a pattern of steady improvements that will continue till the end of the year,” said John Wheat, director of airports for the Sacramento County Department of Airports.

The airport, which opened new terminal and concourse buildings in 2011, had seen a six-year decline in passenger numbers during and after the recession. The loss of revenue from reduced flights forced airport officials to cut their budget 15 percent this year.

Wheat said the recent increase is tied to the improving Sacramento regional economy, and a willingness by airlines to bring jets with higher seat capacity into Sacramento, and to add a few more flight destinations.

Airport officials cited increased numbers at US Airways, Delta Airlines, Delta Connection, Alaska Airlines/Horizon and Southwest, as well as jumps at the two international carriers, Aeromexico and Volaris.

Southwest had the largest increase, 40,153 more passengers, this year, the airport reported. US Airways had the second-largest increase, with 39,440 more passengers flying out of Sacramento International Airport the first eight months of 2014. Airport officials said US Airways started seasonal service to Charlotte in March this year instead of May, as had been the case in previous years.