SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Springfield - Branson National Airport officials say 2016 was the second straight record-breaking year for the airport. More than 950,000 passengers got on or off flights, which is a 4.3 percent increase from 2015, which was the previous record year.
It was the fifth year in a row that passenger numbers grew at SGF, the airline code for the airport.
"This kind of growth reflects the strength of the southwest Missouri economy. When our economy is strong and growing more people fly," said Tom Babik, chairman of the airport's board of directors.
Passenger growth encourages airlines to add and improve air service. In the past 14 months, American Airlines added flights between Springfield and Charlotte. Allegiant converted its seasonal Los Angeles flights to year‐round service, and added new seasonal service to Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., beginning in May.
The airport sees growth in other measurements: the number of scheduled airline flights in 2016 went up 10 percent; tthe total number of available airline seats rose 12 percent; and the total number of takeoffs and landings rose 13 percent.
“The number of takeoffs and landings had help in a couple of areas — airline growth in the market, plus the addition of Premier Flight Center, which opened at the airport last May,” said Brian Weiler, director of aviation. “Premier is a flight school and they’re doing a booming business, with more than 20 active students.”