WILLIAMSTOWN - As travelers file through the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport for the holidays, the airport is prepared to take the influx of people, an official said.
"The terminal has been busier than normal," said airport Manager Terry Moore. "But I'm not sure I should expect anything different from Thanksgiving, though."
The days leading up to Thanksgiving were busy while the holiday and the day after Black Friday were slow with the weekend busy, Moore said.
"I imagine that is what we will see for the Christmas and New Year's weeks," he said. "People typically start coming in a day or so before the holiday and will filter out after.
"We might not be as busy right after Christmas because people might be staying for that week between Christmas and New Year's," Moore said.
Melissa Wyatt of Marietta recently flew to visit family in Arizona using the local airport with her two children.
"I can understand why people would use the service because it is so convenient," she said. "I have flown out of the Mid-Ohio Valley airport twice and plan to do it again."
Wyatt likes the airport because she doesn't have to drive to a hub with a 3-year-old and 11-year-old.
"The really nice thing is that I don't have to fly with the kids and then drive a long distance just to get home," she added.
While the airport's terminal is expected to be bustling this weekend with more than 700 passengers having expected to get on planes throughout December, the holiday rush will quickly drop to next to nothing.
The last time the local airport had such a high number of travelers during the holidays was in 2006 when Air Midwest provided the service with close to 700 enplanements. Although last December was close with 666 enplanements.
With this bump in passenger numbers, the airport is on track to have between 7,600 and 8,000 enplanements for 2012, based on the monthly number of passengers for the year.
This number has almost doubled since Silver Airways, formerly Gulfstream International Airlines, began offering service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in October 2010.
The number of enplanements is important because airports that have at least 10,000 enplanements per year receive $1 million in federal Airport Improvement Project funds annually, airports with fewer passengers receive $150,000.
The closest year in recent history was 2011 when the airport had a total of 7,378 passengers in the 12-month period. The last time in recent history the airport had anywhere close to this number was 2008 where the airport had 5,169 enplanements due to several months of three flights per day to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., from former carrier Colgan Air, Moore said.
"We will likely break last year's number of passengers for December, which is great, but we can't get too used to it," Moore said. "December is usually the last hurrah for air travel until the spring vacations begin."
Historically January and February are the slowest months for air travel, he said.
"After the holidays, other than some business travelers, little goes on at airports," he said. "Not only are people getting into the swing of working in a new year, but no one wants to pay for plane tickets and hotel room and then get stranded at an airport because of bad weather."