GTRA numbers start year on record pace

Staff Writer

Fresh off two record years, Golden Triangle Regional Airport is off to another strong start in 2018. And the big January and February come despite bad weather in Atlanta and the Northeast.

In January, 3,081 people boarded Delta planes at GTRA. That was more than any January in the last 15 years.

In February, 3,292 passengers boarded planes. That also was the most for any February since 2003. In addition, 186 people flew charter flights in January and 533 flew charters in February.

The total numbers for the first two months are 11.4 percent ahead of last year, which ended up being a record year with 44,030 people flying Delta or charters. Last year broke the previous record set in 2016.

"We only had four cancellations in January, despite all the bad weather, and only one each way in February," GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. "In February, we had several flights delayed because of the weather but they made it. And our passengers have been understanding. They know we can't do anything about the weather somewhere else."

A number of factors go into the growing numbers, ranging from Mississippi State University to increased confidence in local leisure flyers to the region's growing business base.

"This is just continued proof that the industry in the Golden Triangle continues to mature and grow," Hainsey said, noting business traffic makes up 80 percent of the airport's customer base.