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Tri-Cities Airport seeing more travelers, hoping for more flights

Tri-Cities Airport seeing more travelers, hoping for more flights
Tri-Cities Airport seeing more travelers, hoping for more flights
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From the cell phone lot to a direct flight to Los Angeles, over the past year the staff at the Tri-Cities Airport has listened to traveler feedback and tried to bring their customers what they want.

They're just winding down from the busy summer season, and so far this year numbers are high.

The stats show, when airlines add the seats, our community books them, and travelers say flying has never been easier.

“I'm flying more out of here now than I ever used to,” said Mike Hovde, who was headed to his hometown of Minneapolis.

Delta offers two nonstop flights a day to Minneapolis. That’s just one of eight destinations travelers can fly directly from the Tri-Cities.

Airport Director Buck Taft said it's been a busy summer.

“We're coming down off of our peak travel season now as school is back in session, but we had a very busy summer this year it was great," Taft said.

Parking at the airport was scarce, and at times the security line reached the main entrance doors, but Taft says that’s a good thing.

“It shows that we're a strong market, a strong economy all the things they're looking for when we're talking about wanting to add capacity,” Taft said.

After United added a direct flight to LA in April, West Coast travelers took advantage. Taft says the numbers show more passengers since the flight started.

According to Taft, the number of travelers using the Tri-Cities Airport is up 13%. The number of seats sold from PSC is also up by 12%, meaning airlines are using larger planes and they're coming here more frequently to accommodate.

Now the airport is looking to add capacity, or the amount of flights going to each destination. Because there will be more supply, Taft hopes this will bring the cost of a plane ticket down.

“We're always tinkering and trying to make things better,” Taft said.

It's the airlines call as to where and when flights come and go, but Taft says PSC and their customers are ready.

“All the seats the airlines have added we've filled those plus one percent,” Taft said.

2018 was the airport's busiest year on record. Taft says 2019's numbers are looking even better.

According to the airport's website nearly a quarter of a million people traveled from the Tri-Cities airport this year. They're expecting to see slower months with school starting but they predict it will pick up again for the holidays.

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The next destinations PSC hope to acquire are Phoenix, Chicago and Dallas.

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