Business

Traffic took off in 2016 at Concord Regional Airport

Photo by Marty Price

Traffic at Concord Regional Airport climbed steeply in 2016, with 185,000 commercial passengers in 2016, an increase of  63.7 percent from 2015. The growth, of course, was facilitated by the new Commercial Service Terminal and parking deck, which opened in October, not to mention Allegiant Air.

There are now 76 monthly departures, up from 40 a year ago, and Allegiant Air is growing. The Las Vegas-based airline, which is 20 years old this year, is catering to North Carolina vacationers with flights to destinations like New Orleans—brand new last year—as well as Orlando Sanford International Airport, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, and Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and Punta Gorda Airport.

Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel, said 2016 was “a very transformational year” for the company which began service in Concord in 2013.

“During this year we finalized a single fleet type plan, signed our first pilot contract agreement, launched our credit card program, and announced the appointment of John Redmond as President of Allegiant.  Each of these actions is critical in the evolution of our business model in the coming years,” Gallagher said.

The company has delivered 56 consecutive profitable quarters, although Allegiant reports fourth quarter net fell 27.2 percent on operating revenue that rose 8 percent while expenses rose 23.3 percent. Allegiant has a team that follows and analyzes travel patterns. Analysts recognized “pent up demand” for a route connecting Concord to New Orleans.

The airport’s new $6.5 million terminal isn’t as big as New Orleans, but it’s first class. The new complex includes a 25,000 square foot terminal building and 700 space parking deck.

Concord Mayor Scott Padgett said the terminal, which opened in October, began a new chapter of this airport’s relatively short but impressive history. “This first class complex will result in a better flying experience,” he said.

Aviation Director Rick Cloutier said the new terminal building, which includes a covered pathway to the aircraft, will accommodate up to 30 flights a week.

The city is financing the 700-space parking deck with parking fees.

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