More than 1.6 million passengers used Wichita Eisenhower National Airport in 2016, making it the second-busiest year on record.
According to Wichita Airport Authority information released Thursday, last year’s passenger count increased 2 percent from 2015’s total of 1.5 million passengers.
Airport officials attributed part of the increase to Allegiant Airlines’ seasonal nonstop flights to Orlando, Fla., and Southwest Airlines’ new nonstop flights to St. Louis and Phoenix. In April 2016, Southwest changed its nonstop flights from Dallas and Chicago, which proved uneconomical for the airline.
Eisenhower’s busiest year on record was in 2008, when there were 1.62 million total passengers. It was called Mid-Continent Airport at the time.
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Airport officials said what makes 2016 significant is that the number of available seats on airplanes was 15 percent lower than in 2008. Last year, flights at Eisenhower averaged 81 percent full.
Monthly records for passenger growth last year were set in June, September and October, the authority said in a news release.
Besides Southwest and Allegiant, Eisenhower Airport is served by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Beginning April 13, Alaska Airlines will operate daily, nonstop service to Seattle.