SAN LUIS OBISPO — A new report from international organization Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) has ranked San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) the seventh-fastest growing airport in North America.
With 407,646 passengers in 2017, the San Luis Obispo Airport registered a 23.4 percent increase over 2016 levels. The jump makes SBP the fifth-fastest-growing airport in the United States, and seventh-fastest across the continent.
“2017 was a transformative year for us,” said Director of Airports Kevin Bumen, C.M., C.A.E. “In addition to opening our new terminal, Alaska began service to Seattle, and United added both service to Denver and a fourth daily flight to San Francisco. More people flew our existing routes in 2017 as well. This rise in passenger numbers shows how committed our residents are to flying from their hometown airport.”
“Airports are powerful engines of economic growth for local communities, contributing more than a trillion dollars to our national economy each year,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “The incredible growth experienced by communities like San Luis Obispo last year reaffirms the important role airports play in creating jobs and connecting people.”
The airport continues to work to deliver new flights. It collaborates with regional partners like Visit SLO CAL and the Economic Vitality Corporation to recruit businesses and tourists to visit SLO County, and meets regularly with major air carriers to encourage additional service. In fact, Bumen expects that with an additional United flight to Denver and the use of larger planes on existing routes, 2018 will see a similar spike in growth.
According to the ACI-NA report, passenger traffic grew 3.7 percent and cargo traffic increased 7.1 percent across the U.S. and Canada. The majority of the airports that showed the most growth are mainly small hubs or non-hub airports. Three small Canadian airports were in the top 10, and Long Beach Airport was the only other California airport to make the list. “Airports like SBP are proving our value to our communities,” Bumen continued. “We’re showing that passengers are willing to skip the inconvenience of driving long distances to large hubs if they can get to their destination from their local airport. We’re grateful to our airline partners for their growth in our region, and to our community for continuing to fly local.”
The 2017 North American Airport Traffic Summary contains passenger, freight/mail and aircraft operations data for 231 North American airports. More details about the report and analysis can be found at www.aci-na.org/content/airport-traffic-reports.