The number of passengers flying in and out of the Akron-Canton Airport continues to soar.
The airport announced an all-time annual passenger record was reached in November, a month before the busy holiday travel season.
“We do continue to succeed despite the fact that airlines across the United States are flat — there is no growth,” Akron-Canton Airport Senior Vice President Kristie VanAuken said Wednesday. “That’s one mega-trend that we are bucking right now.”
Through November, a total of 1,688,380 people flew in or out of the airport in Green. This year’s passenger count through the first 11 months already surpasses the previous annual record of 1,664,397, set in 2011.
The airport also reported its 20th consecutive record-breaking month in November. Last month, 159,409 customers flew to and from the airport, an 11 percent increase from the same month last year.
VanAuken attributed much of the recent increase in business to the arrival of popular carrier Southwest in August.
Low fares and the airport’s smaller size compared to others in the region also continue to appeal to customers, she said.
Southwest, headquartered in Dallas and the largest domestic passenger airline in the country, bought AirTran Airways Inc. last year and continues to operate the two as separate carriers during an integration process.
“That was just huge,” she said. “It fundamentally changed our future.”
AirTran has been Akron-Canton’s busiest carrier.
Southwest officials have not indicated the airport will lose any destinations as the two carriers integrate under the Southwest banner by sometime in 2015, VanAuken said.
To celebrate the record-setting milestone, airport employees passed out luggage tags, back massagers and candy to travelers as part of a “Random Acts of CAKness” day last week.
“Even after 20 months, we never tire of breaking records,” Akron-Canton President and Chief Executive Rick McQueen said in a prepared statement. “Our customers are at the center of every decision we make.”
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.