A handful of new flights at John Wayne Airport helped boost traffic to nearly 10.5 million passengers in 2016, a new record for the airport and a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.
In 2016, Alaska Airlines added new flights to San Jose, Santa Rosa/Sonoma County and Reno/Tahoe.
The year ended on an up-note as JWA saw a 1.4 percent increase in passenger traffic in December compared with December 2015.
The December 2016 passenger count was 870,956 passengers vs. 858,598 in 2015.
Commercial aircraft operations increased 5.8 percent.
Here’s a look at airlines that saw the highest passenger counts in December:
• Southwest Airlines: 407,668
• American Airlines: 132,933
• United Airlines: 109,950
Airport spokesperson Deanne Thompson said depending on where the holiday falls and how the economy is doing, it is not uncommon for international passenger traffic to decrease in December as people leave for the holidays and do not come back until January.
The airport is experiencing some flight changes in 2016 after a gate shakeup.
Southwest lost seven daily flights and nearly 1 million passenger seats in 2017.
Previously, unused capacity from other carriers was used by Southwest. This year other carriers, including Delta, United and Alaska, requested additional capacity for 2017, leaving fewer supplemental seats for Southwest.
Southwest shed flights to Mexico City in January. Flights to Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; and Seattle also ceased in January; and flights to Puerto Vallarta will stop April 25.
Alaska/Horizon will pick up 257,596 additional seats, Delta 387,630, and United will add 296,346 seats.
Alaska Airlines will offer a daily, nonstop flight from John Wayne Airport to Albuquerque, N.M., starting Aug. 18.
Thompson said other new flights have yet to be announced.
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