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Passenger traffic down, cargo up at Columbia airport

Staff Report
Published Nov. 19, 2012

The number of passengers boarding flights at Columbia Metropolitan Airport dropped 2.07% in October compared with figures for the same month in 2011. Meanwhile, the amount of freight loaded at the airport climbed 9.73%.

For the month, the airport recorded 43,889 enplanements, or passenger boardings, down from 44,828 in October 2011.

Passenger traffic at the end of October was impacted by Hurricane Sandy, which slammed into the northeastern United States, forcing airports to close.

Up to a third of daily flights out of Columbia to Newark, N.J., New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., were scrubbed for most of the week after the storm struck.

For the year, passenger traffic is up 2.69% through October compared with a similar period in 2011. The airport recorded 419,476 enplanements through the first nine months compared with 408,502 for the same stretch in 2011.

The amount of freight loaded at the airport, which can be a gauge of economic activity in the region, climbed 9.73% in October to 2.68 million pounds compared with 2.45 million pounds for the same month in 2011.

For the nine months, the amount of enplaned freight is up 5.8% to 26.8 million pounds compared with 25.3 million for the same period last year.

UPS, which operates its Southeast regional hub at the airport, reported freight was up 7.4% for the month, and 3.18% for the year. UPS handles about a third of the freight loaded at the airport.

FedEx reported nearly a 13% increase in the amount of freight it loaded at its terminal in October. For the year, FedEx was up 11.7%.

Airport officials believe the increase in freight traffic may be the result of Amazon’s fulfillment center in Lexington County, which began operations in October 2011.

Previous coverage

Columbia airport on verge of snapping losing streak

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