Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) has had a good deal to crow about lately, and, this week, at the monthly meeting of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, airport officials announced a milestone. In 2019, more than 1 million travelers boarded passenger planes at the airport – making that the first year PTIA has boarded more than 1 million passengers since the 2008 financial collapse.

At the Tuesday, Jan. 28 meeting, PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker told Airport Authority members that, last year, 1,078,247 people boarded planes at PTIA.

The last time PTIA saw over one million passengers getting onto planes was in 2008. That year, there were 1,109,100 who boarded aircraft taking off from the Greensboro-based airport.

In 2009, and several following years, when the national economy tanked and people flew much less often, the number of passengers leaving from PTIA dropped below the 1 million mark. In recent years, the airport has seen what Baker is calling “a resurgence” in passenger traffic; however, until the new numbers were tallied for 2019, PTIA hadn’t seen numbers over 1 million in more than a decade.

Baker said the growth in local passenger traffic can be attributed to a better economy, improved airline practices and the fact that the Triad is a growing region.

Often, when the airport traffic numbers are announced, the growth in cargo traffic at PTIA is even more impressive than the passenger number increases.

Baker reported at the Jan. 28 meeting that the cargo trend was also very healthy in 2019 due largely to added service at FedEx’s Mid-Atlantic hub at PTIA.

Another positive stat revealed was the “load factor,” which is the average percentage of airplane seats departing from PTIA that are filled with passengers. That number grew to 79 percent in late 2019.

“The airport has had a good year in 2019,” Baker summarized. “We look forward to more good news in 2020.”