Airport Passenger Traffic Returns to Pre-Recession High

By George C. Ford, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Eastern Iowa Airport ended 2013 with a total passenger count in excess of 1 million for the first time since pre-recession 2007.

A total of 1,042,291 passengers used the airport during the last calendar year, the second-highest in the facility's history after 1,060,120 passengers recorded in 2007. The passenger tally for 2013 was 6.2 percent higher than 2012.

Last year ended with December as the third straight record-setting month with 89,869 passengers using the airport, up 16.5 percent from December 2012 and topping the previous December record of 87,552 set in 2002.

Airport Director Tim Bradshaw said topping the 1 million passenger mark is a major accomplishment for the airport and the Corridor.

"The airport is a gauge of the strength of the local economy, so being back up to pre-recession passenger numbers shows the strength and vibrancy of the Corridor," Bradshaw said. "This is particularly significant as the airlines have continued to fly smaller planes than in the past and have reduced their overall capacity."

Bradshaw said he and Heather Wilson, director of marketing and communication, will continue to encourage the airlines serving the airport to expand the number of flights and bring larger planes into the Eastern Iowa market.

Bradshaw told the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Monday that the airport is projecting continued increases in passenger demand. A recently completed master plan forecasts 60 percent growth of passengers flying out of the airport over the next 20 years to 731,000 annually.

To prepare for additional passenger traffic and more aircraft, Bradshaw said the airport is beginning multi-year capital improvement projects that will renovate the almost 30-year-old passenger terminal, expand the B concourse to add additional jet boarding bridges, expand the security checkpoint, and make repairs to the airport parking lot.

While owned by the city of Cedar Rapids, The Eastern Iowa Airport does not receive any property tax revenue. The airport derives its funding from airline revenues, terminal concessions, ground and facility leases, landing fees, ramp fees, parking revenue and farmland rental.
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