HELENA — Officials say a Montana airport has experienced a fifth consecutive increase in annual passenger numbers.
Nearly 238,000 passengers flew to or from Helena Regional Airport in 2019, a 1.7% increase over 2018, The Independent Record reported Wednesday.
The increase was smaller than previous years when additional flights or larger aircraft meant significantly higher numbers of travelers, an official said.
In 2018 United Airlines added an additional Helena flight. Delta switched to larger aircraft at peak travel times, which added about 30,000 seats in 2017, an increase of about 11%.
Passenger traffic has increased 18.2% over the past six years.
Airport Director Jeff Wadekamper was pleased by the 2019 growth.
“All things considered, when we didn’t really gain additional seats our load facts were strong so our flights were really full and it was a really good year,” he said.
Wadekamper expects 2020 to be another year of passenger growth with the announcement Alaska Airlines will add a second daily flight to Seattle, which remains Helena’s top destination.
The service is expected to begin in May and provide an additional 27,440 seats.
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