WILLIAMSTOWN - The Thanksgiving holiday gave the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport a boost of passengers, an official said.
"We had a nice boost of enplanements for the holiday with an increase of passengers using the commercial service," said airport manager Terry Moore. "There were a lot more people than usual in the terminal and getting on planes."
For the most part, Nov. 21 through Nov. 25 was a busy week, although the holiday and Black Friday were slow, as Thursday had only nine passengers while Friday had just a few more than that while the planes throughout the rest of the week were nearly full, Moore said.
The load factor for the two Sunday flights was nearly 95 percent, which means that only one seat a flight was empty.
"With how our traffic was, it showed that people came home to visit their families for Thanksgiving and spent the weekend before heading out," Moore said. "So many people flew on Sunday that they almost filled the two planes, which is great."
With this past weekend, Moore said the airport has seen 594 passengers for November and expects to have about 700 passengers total by the end of Friday.
"I'm pretty sure we will get more than 100 more passengers in the next few days," he said. "We are averaging about 25 passengers per day, so I see no problems."
This number of passengers for the airport is up by nearly 100 from last November, Moore said.
"Last November we had 633 enplanements, which was higher than any other November back to 2007, when we had 375," he said. "This will probably be the best November in almost a decade."
Moore said with the number of flights and reliability of the service, the confidence of the traveling public with the local air service appears to be growing.
"It gives me hope that we will be better off than in the past because the number of enplanements shows our passengers have confidence in the service and are comfortable using it," he said.
The fact that Silver Airways has not canceled a single flight between the two airports this month also helps.
"Because they have a 100 percent completion rate for this month allows travelers to have more confidence and continue to use the service if they know the flight will take place," Moore said.
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 a year receive $1 million in federal Airport Improvement Project (AIP) 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 a day to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., from former carrier Colgan Air, Moore said.