GREENVILLE – The Outagamie County Regional Airport finished 2010 just slightly ahead of 2009 in passenger boardings.
A total of 272,420 passengers boarded flights on four commercial air carriers and charter operators, a 0.89 percent increase, the airport reported Tuesday.
According to the annual summary, a total of 542,565 passengers in all boarded and deplaned, an average rise of 1.4 percent.
Boardings by carrier, followed by the gain or loss compared to 2009, were:
? Delta Airlines (merged with Northwest Airlines): 134,785, up 122.6 percent.
? United Express: 81,755, down 1.8 percent.
? Allegiant Air: 32,014, up 6.7 percent.
? Frontier Airlines: 23,442, down 12.4 percent.
? Charters: 424, up 153.9 percent.
Airport Director Marty Lenss said the uptick reflects stirrings of a rebound in the Fox Valley economy, a particularly welcoming sign given fierce competition in the airline industry.
“I’d go as far as to say it’s a hyper-competitive industry,” he said in an interview. “I think that will remain the case, certainly through 2011.”
Boardings leader Delta upgraded its non-stop daily flight to Atlanta, its corporate headquarters, by adding a higher capacity Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ-900) that has 76 seats, including 12 first class and 64 coach. The jet aircraft replaced 34-seat Saab planes equipped with turbo prop engines.
Delta replaced all its turbo prop planes with jets following the merger with Northwest, providing regular service to Detroit and Minneapolis besides.
The activity by Allegiant Air complemented the other scheduled carriers nicely. Allegiant, a vacation carrier with service to Las Vegas and Orlando, moved from Austin Straubel International Airport near Green Bay.
FedEx posted a sharp increase in air freight during the year, hauling a total of 25,962,484 pounds of cargo. That marked an increase of 31.4 percent from the previous year, when the big Memphis-based operator still competed head to head with Airborne Express. Airborne Express’ parent, DHL, discontinued operations in 2009.
The airport said total tower operations were up 8.5 percent on the year, consisting of corporate jet flights, flight school training, air carrier services, general aviation and military exercises.