Passenger traffic continues to rise at Columbia Metropolitan Airport

The numbers are up again at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

At the end of November, Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CMA) recorded a 2.91 percent increase in the number of passengers and enplanements. And passenger traffic, combining arrivals and departures, was up 3.33 percent, compared to data from 2015.

In raw numbers, into November 516,091 passengers boarded flights at CMA. In the same amount of time in 2015, 501,503 had boarded.

And the number of passengers boarding flights at CMA increased by about 5.5 percent in October compared to the same month in 2015.

In October, the airport counted 47,989 passenger enplanements compared to 45,515 in October 2015. United Express had the biggest jump. It had 8,496 enplanements in October, compared to 7,186 in 2015. The jump was more than 18 percent. United Express also had 193 landings in October compared to 163 in October 2015. That is an increase of 18.40 percent.

At the end of 2015, CMA marked its fourth consecutive year of growth. And all signs indicate that the growth continued into 2016.

Leaders at CMA have said controlling costs and a receptive clientele were the reasons for more traffic.

“For us to have this kind of growth without the advantage of a low-cost carrier in the market shows that our commitment to operating efficiently is paying off,” said airport Director Dan Mann at the end of 2015. “That and the traveling public is responding to our messaging by making CAE their first choice for air travel.”

There are other reasons too.

A CMA spokeswoman said recently carriers were offering more service.

“We’re attributing (more passengers) to an increase in seats by the airlines in some of our markets,” said Lynne Douglas, CMA’s Air Service Development and Customer Service Manager.

More traffic also may be due to the size of the aircraft being used to serve CMA. Two airlines, Delta and American, are using larger planes – with more passenger capacity – than they used a year ago.

The amount of cargo being flown out of CMA also increased into November 2016, compared to November 2015. The higher volume of cargo was not a surprise to Douglas.

“We expect to see an increase in freight with the holidays approaching,” she said before Thanksgiving.

The volume of cargo increased by almost nine percent in November 2016 compared to the November of the year before. However, cargo volume for the year-to-date was up less than one percent.

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