FYI Airport Passenger Increase

December 22, 2008 2:10:02 PM PST
The number of passengers who have flown out of Fresno Yosemite has hit a record high for the fifth year in a row.Last year, more than one point three million passengers flew out of the airport which is three percent higher than last year's record of about one point two million passengers.

The trend of passenger growth for Fresno Yosemite International Airport is well above the national annual increase of one point four percent.

Nine airlines fly out of FYI, including express-jet, which began offering flights to three southern California cities last year.

The continuing growth at FYI is due in great part to the success of international air service to Guadalajara, Mexico.

Soon, travelers will be able to fly on Mexicana's direct flight seven days a week. The days of driving to Los Angeles or San Francisco to catch a flight to Mexico are long-gone for the Solorio family. Crystal Solorio, Valley Traveler: "Now we don't have to drive all the way to LA and waste miles and gas money."

They are among the thousands who've traveled on Mexicana Airlines since the company began offering direct flights 5-days a week from FYI to Guadalajara two years ago. But they've been hoping for daily flights.

"You work during the week so now if you want to go during the weekends, for an emergency and so forth that would be helpful as well."

Their wish may come true in a matter of weeks. Airport officials will ask the Fresno City Council Tuesday to allow Mexicana to add two more flights so service becomes daily.

The increase will cost the airport a little over $120,000 annually to cover 3 additional customs and border protection personnel.

Russell Widmar, Fresno Yosemite International: "Our costs will go up but our revenue will go up-- so the gap will close eventually."

The last two months could be an indication of the demand for extra flights.

Mexicana increased to daily flights during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The number of passengers each of the two months almost doubled their monthly average, 6-thousand-101 travelers in December and 6 thousand-eleven travelers in January.

"In those two months we filled Grizzlie Stadium of people on airplanes to go to Guadalajara so I think that is pretty impressive for a small city like this."

FYI is currently conducting a study looking to add direct flights to other cities in Mexico particularly popular tourist spots like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.

Pending council approval Mexicana will begin flying daily to Guadalajara on March 18th.


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