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Airport sets passenger record

SRQ saw more travelers in March than any time in its history

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  • | 1:13 p.m. April 14, 2021
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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One year after the  pandemic brought global tourism to a near standstill, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport saw record number of travelers in March.

The airport reported recently that 277,590 passengers used the airport in March, an 81% increase over a year ago and a new all-time record, according to a statement. Passenger traffic was up 74% from February and was up by more than 124,000 people from last March when 153,246 travelers went through the airport.

The previous record was 255,247 passengers in a month. The airport did not say when that occurred.

The rebound is welcome news for the airport which, like most businesses, was hit hard last year because of the pandemic.

End-of-year figures showed airport passenger traffic in 2020 was down 37% with 1,236,986 passengers using the airport compared to 1,966,950 passengers in 2019.

“Now that a vaccine is readily available in the United State, domestic passenger travel has quickly returned to SRQ and we expect to see a record number of passengers through the remainder of the year,” Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota Bradenton International, says in a press release.

Piccolo says another big reason for the increase is the addition of Southwest Airlines and expanded service from the airport’s nine other carriers.

According to Sarasota Bradenton International, currently there are 10 airlines flying nonstop to 45 destinations. That’s up from March 2018 when six airlines were flying nonstop to 12 destinations.

Because of these new offerings, Piccolo says, “travelers have a multitude of choices when making travel plans.”   

To accommodate the heavier traffic, the airport has expanded the screening check point and added more parking and jet fuel storage. And it is currently working on plans to expand ground transportation, add more parking for rental cars and build a new inline baggage handling system.


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