Des Moines International Airport last year exceeded the 2 million mark in passenger activity, Executive Director Don Smithey said today, as the airport had about 2.08 million inbound and outbound passengers in 2012.
That marks the first time in the airport's history that it had that many passengers, he said.
Contributing factors include what industry experts refer to as the "Southwest Effect" of Southwest Airlines raising competition and lowering fares overall, in addition to a relatively strong Central Iowa economy. Southwest started service in late September, but it's Smithey's belief that the promise of service helped numbers throughout the year.
Year over year, the airport had an 8.7 increase in passenger numbers, he said, and 2013 should see another increase.
"We're going to keep a full court press on the airlines to give us more service, and therefore the fares will start moderating," Smithey said. "I think these numbers will precipitate further service. If the economy stays good... then I think obviously we'll exceed (the 2012 number)."
Another report today shows that steady growth is expected in business travel spending in 2013. According to the Global Business Travel Association, pent-up demand will fuel growth in business travel spending as the year progresses.
Overall, business travel spending is expected to increase by 4.6 percent in 2013, to $266.7 billion.