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Richmond International Airport sets annual passenger record in 2017

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HENRICO, Va. – The final quarter of 2017 at Richmond International Airport lifted annual passenger totals to new heights, according to a reported presented Tuesday at the Capital Region Airport Commission.

“The momentum we saw in the final quarter of 2017 was unmistakable,” said Commission chairman Aubrey Stanley.

Despite an early December snowfall and a historic power outage in Atlanta, the second most popular destination for RIC passengers, the year finished with three record months of traffic.

The new, all-time annual passenger traffic record of 3,657,479, surpassed the previous mark established in 2007, by almost 23,000 passengers.  This new 2017 total also represents a 2.8 percent increase over 2016 passenger traffic, according to the report.

Delta Air Lines had the greatest share of passenger traffic, followed by American and United. United, JetBlue and American all reported growth in December.

Several airlines are launching or expanding service this year, which could drive passenger traffic in 2018.

In March, Spirit Airlines will launch its new daily service from Richmond to Orlando (MCO) and to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL). The service starts March 15, 2018 and will transport passengers via a 145-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

United Airlines will add a second daily Denver flight, starting with the June schedule change. Per published information, flights will depart RIC in the morning and afternoon. The flight to Denver first launched in April 2016.

JetBlue Airways will offer more seats during its twice-daily Orlando schedule in the summer. JetBlue has operated this route almost exclusively with 100-seat Embraer E190s but will use the 150-seat Airbus A320s in the summer.

Additionally, Richmond travelers and residents alike will have a new mass transit option when traveling to and from the airport. The service will launch when The Pulse is ready to operate, which is expected sometime in mid- 2018. The fare to or from the airport will still be just $1.50.