The number of passengers at Port Columbus International Airport was up 15 percent last month, thanks to an increase in flights from the year before and a quirk of the calendar.
“It’s really a combination of three factors: more flights, bigger airplanes and an extra day of holiday traffic,” said Angie Tabor, Port Columbus spokeswoman.
The extra day is because the Monday after Thanksgiving, a busy travel day, was Nov. 30 this year; it fell on Dec. 1 last year.
Port Columbus had 582,430 passengers in November, up 15 percent from a year earlier. Looking at January to November, the passenger count was up 7 percent from a year earlier.
The airport had 3,946 flights in November, up 4 percent. For January to November, the flight count was up 1 percent.
“We’re seeing airlines bringing larger aircraft into the market,” said Tabor, explaining why the increase in passengers grew by more than the increase in flights.
Southwest Airlines carried the most passengers and is a key contributor to the overall increase in passengers. The airline has added six daily flights since last year, two each to Boston and Washington and one each to Dallas and Oakland.
Southwest accounted for 37 percent of passengers; followed by American Airlines, 26 percent; Delta Airlines, 23 percent; United Airlines, 14 percent; and Air Canada, 1 percent.
At Rickenbacker Airport, which mainly handles cargo, 15.4 million pounds of cargo was moved in November, down 13 percent from the same month last year.
Most of the decline was in domestic shipping, with providers such as FedEx doing more deliveries by truck and fewer by air, Tabor said. Domestic shipping volume was down 20 percent in the month.
At the same time, international shipping has grown, rising last month by 5 percent.
Rickenbacker’s international cargo flights have increased because of two carriers, Cathay Pacific and Emirates SkyCargo, which began local operations last year and in May, respectively.