While much of the economy still struggles with high unemployment and tepid housing sales, at least one local institution may count 2011 as the year it put the recession in the rearview mirror.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport today reported its busiest September ever last month. September was the fourth consecutive month that the airport had reported best-ever passenger traffic.
Based on that trend, the airport is predicting that 2011 will be its busiest year ever with 32.6 million or more passengers. That figure would beat the previous record of 32.2 million set in 2008.
September passengers at the airport totaled 2.84 million, up nearly 109,000 from September 2010. Passenger counts through the end of September were 24.975 million, an increase of 1.076 million from the same period last year.
For the year through September, international passenger numbers jumped 8.25 percent while domestic passengers were 4.14 percent above last year.
Sea-Tac had predicted a 3.5 percent passenger count increase for the year. If the trend continues, those passenger numbers could be nearly 4.5 percent better than last year.
One note from Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper:
“By the way, this doesn’t mean that many more aircraft,” he said. “Our operations are only up .6 percent for the year. Airlines continue to put more people in the aircraft they do have and put larger aircraft to add capacity to routes.”
Alaska Airlines and its regional sister airline, Horizon Air, remain the dominant airline at Sea-Tac with 51.26 percent of domestic traffic this year.