McAllen airport boardings busiest in 7 years
MCALLEN, TX — The McAllen International Airport experienced its busiest May in seven years – with 34,371 enplanements – helping make it the busiest airport in South Texas so far this year and claim a bigger share of the Valley market, the most recent airport statistics show.
Total boardings (enplanements) in 2014 are also up to the highest point in six years with 152,497 passengers departing from McAllen through the first five months of the year. The monthly and year-to-date totals are greater than the commercial airports in Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Brownsville and Laredo. Including deplanements, the McAllen airport saw nearly 68,000 passengers go through its doors in May.
“If you don’t have a vital, busy airport, you don’t have a vital, active economy,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “McAllen and the region are bouncing back from the recession years in a big way, and the uptick in our airport numbers are a great indication of that.”
McAllen’s retail sales and employment are back to pre-recession levels with the city posting its best numbers in five years in 2014. Darling added the airport’s May boardings come as McAllen gets close to completing a 40,000-square foot airport expansion and renovation that will give passengers, security and staff more room.
Airport Director Elizabeth Suarez said it is an exciting time for the airport, and the growth trends support its investment for expansion and new services.
“We continue to be the Valley’s premier airport in that we offer the most non-stop service to key destinations like Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas and Mexico City and San Luis Potosi,” said Suarez. “With the addition of seasonal non-stop service to Los Angeles and to Orlando, we look forward to reporting even greater passenger growth in the upcoming summer months.
The monthly and annual growth has, in part, been spurred by rapid passenger increases via American Airlines, Allegiant and Aeromar double digit growth year over year.
American connects McAllen to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with five daily flights. Allegiant flies to Las Vegas year round and to Los Angeles and Orlando on a seasonal basis, and Aeromar provides service to Mexico City and San Luis Potosi several times a week. United also offers eight daily departures to Houston.
May’s 34,371 passengers were the most for a May since 2007 and was large enough to claim 59 percent market share among the Rio Grande Valley’s three airports – one of the highest monthly shares McAllen has ever recorded. Year to date share is 53 percent. Typical annual market share for McAllen International the last several years has averaged in the mid to high 40 percent.
Around the region, Corpus Christi had 32,304 passenger boardings in May and 144,481 year-to-date. Laredo has averaged about 7,000 enplanements monthly through the first four months of 2014.