EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Usage of Evansville Regional Airport grew nearly 7 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to data released by EVV.
Airport officials said declining airfares and new air service were two reasons for the bump.
Allegiant Air has recently entered the Evansville market, with seasonal flights to Orlando and Destin, Florida. American Airlines has expanded its EVV-to-Dallas connection.
Through December, passengers departing from EVV totaled 235,082, topping the 2017 total of 220,046.
EVV’s total number of travelers, which includes passengers arriving at EVV from other airports, grew to nearly a half million people.
Passenger traffic has grown by 35 percent in four years. Officials said 2018 was the airport’s third-busiest year since 2000.
“We are very pleased with our growth and EVV’s position within the air travel market,” said Nate Hahn, who on Jan. 1 became the airport’s new executive director. “Our region continues to respond to the additional capacity that we’ve added over the last few years, and we remain grateful for this support that allows us to continue digesting new growth, sustaining, and then growing even more.”
The airport’s growth occurred while its terminal and parking lot were construction zones. EVV finished a $20 million renovation, the first substantial project of its type in years.
The renovation included centralized screening with a dedicated TSA PreCheck lane and new post-security amenity rooms that include a pet relief area, nursing rooms for mothers, a kids area and a new business lounge.
EVV’s new design also moved its restaurant and bar to the post-security area, while adding a touch-screen ordering option for the non-traveling public in a new pre-security waiting area.
Parking lot upgrades included canopies and ramps.
Hahn said EVV remains focused on increasing the airport’s nonstop service.
“We are working to retain and grow to as many nonstop destinations as possible,” Hahn said. “One of the best ways for us to achieve that is for our regional neighbors to continue using their airport.”
Solar project coming to EVV
The EVV board met Monday and unanimously passed an agreement with Johnson Melloh, an Indianapolis company, that will bring solar energy to the airport.
The project will cost $5 million to $6 million. Hahn said it involves creating covered spaces in the EVV short-term parking and rental car lots, with solar panels on the ceiling.
The number of solar panels is not yet established, but Hahn said there will be enough to help power the terminal, trimming its energy costs.
The next step in the process is waiting for Federal Aviation Administration approval.