Each month, when the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority meets, airport staff provides the seven-member board with the most recent stats for the number of passengers flying in and out of the airport.

In March of 2024, Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) continued its steady climb of more passengers; however, the amount of cargo being flown in and out of PTI was a different story.  It was down in a major way, continuing a trend of less cargo coming in and out of the airport when compared to the same months in 2023.

The latest passenger statistics, which were for March, were provided at the Authority’s April meeting held earlier this week.

The number of passengers using PTI was up 12 percent in March of 2024 when compared to March 2023, and, year to date, that number has climbed 14 percent.

One thing that would really help grow passenger traffic is if the airport could attract a low-cost carrier that serves a significant number of destinations.  Last year, PTI added troubled Silver Airways, but that airline, with very limited flights, didn’t even make it to the end of the year.  In November, Silver Airways abruptly stopped service at PTI.

Contrast that with Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which added cut-rate carrier Breeze Airways, among others, in 2023.  Breeze began offering nonstop flights from RDU to New Orleans, Hartford, Columbus, Los Angeles, Louisville and Pittsburgh and other destinations.

 (Depending on which reviews you read, that airline, with its very low prices, is either the best thing since sliced bread or an absolute nightmare to fly.)

Still, with its existing carriers, PTI is seeing passenger traffic increase.

Also, the planes’ load factor – the average percentage of airplane seats departing from PTI that had passengers in them – went up as well.  The load factor was 70 percent in January of 2024 compared to 64 percent in January 2023 – the most recent numbers provided for that stat.

The future looks bright too: The number of estimated departing seats out of PTI  for June 2024 is 109,695, up 16 percent over June 2023.

Cargo is a different story, however.

The amount of cargo coming in and out of the airport was down a whopping 38 percent in March of 2024 when compared to March 2023 – and it’s already down 19 percent on a year-to-date basis.

PTI Airport Executive Director Kevin Baker told the Rhino Times several months ago that he sees the drop in cargo as primarily part of a worldwide trend of falling cargo numbers for airports everywhere.

“Worldwide, cargo has been down about the same as we have been,” Baker said.  “We’re just reflecting the rest of the world.”