Detroit Metro passenger traffic up 2nd straight year

The Detroit News

Detroit Metropolitan Airport saw a million more passengers in 2016 as overall traffic was up for a second straight year.

Metro had 34.4 million passengers come through its gates in 2016, compared with 33.4 million who ended up traveling in and out of the airport the previous year.

The last two years of growth comes after the airport was stagnant for five previous years at 32 million passengers each year. Metro’s record is 36.3 million travelers passing through in 2005.

The number of airplanes taking off and landing at Metro also increased for the first time since 2010. There were more than to 393,000 flights in 2016, roughly 14,000 more than in 2015.

Airport officials link the recent growth to new airline service routes, increased competition with the Delta Air Lines hub as well as nonstop flights from low-cost carriers and a stronger economy.

On Tuesday, the Wayne County Airport Authority, which oversees Metro, attributed the 2.9 percent increase in annual passenger traffic to new domestic and international service.

As it has in the prior two years, Metro in 2016 added passengers routes, including the first-ever nonstop flights from Detroit to Munich, Germany, on Delta. Alaska Airlines added service to Seattle over the summer months, Frontier Airlines brought in season flights to Phoenix and Fort Myers, while Spirit Airlines installed direct service to Philadelphia and Baltimore. Last month, Spirit also announced two seasonal summer flights to Seattle and Oakland out of Metro as the low-cost carrier continues to expand its presence in the region.

The airport authority highlighted Tuesday that Aeromexico also is among the latest air carriers to join its mix. It’s offering flights to Mexico City beginning April 1 and flights to Monterrey on May 1.

“Every new flight we are able to get provides more passengers who fill our terminals each day, gives our travelers better flying options and helps increase business opportunities for the region,” said Joe Cambron, airport authority director of air service development, in a statement.

The airport authority noted that since 2014, four airlines and one cargo carrier have initiated service at Metro.

“We’re confident 2017 will be another banner year,” Airport Authority CEO Joseph Nardone said in a statement.