Stung by nearly 25 cancelled flights last month due to inclement weather, the Quad-City International Airport fell short of its goal of 400,000 enplanements in 2012, the aviation director said Tuesday.
During a Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority meeting, Bruce Carter announced that enplanements were 5.6 percent lower for the year than in 2011. In addition, the final month of 2012 posted a 10.79 percent decline in enplanements compared with the same period a year ago.
The airport reported 399,236 enplanements for all of 2012, which compared with 423,070 for 2011.
“We fell about 760 passengers short of the 400,000 mark,” Carter said, attributing the December drop to the snow that hit the Quad-Cities before Christmas as well as foggy weather in Dallas/Fort Worth. The weather locally and in Texas caused many flights to be cancelled, he added.
Total passengers, which include enplanements and deplanements, also were down more than 10 percent in December to 57,972 from 64,802 a year earlier.
Total passengers for the year were nearly 6 percent below prior year. Last year’s 393,313 total passengers compared with 419,563 in 2011.
Carter said had the weather held and the 25 cancelled flights taken off in December, the airport would have hit 400,000-enplanement mark for the year. “Storms tend to raise havoc,” he said, adding that bad weather in December also caused cancellations to Detroit and Denver.
The 5 percent decline in 2012 comes on the heels of a 12 percent decline in 2011.
“I think 2012 has probably hit the bottom,” Carter said, predicting a recovery in 2013.
He hopes that Allegiant will decide to expand the Quad-City market with another Florida destination in the third or fourth quarter. He declined to identify the destination.
In the meantime, he said Allegiant’s plans to expand its flight frequency during spring break as well as Delta Airlines’ move to put larger planes in its fleet should increase Quad-City passenger numbers.
Carter will meet with Delta officials next week to encourage the addition of more flights and the use of larger aircraft.