San Luis Obispo airport sets passenger record

With the addition of a new terminal and new flight routes, San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport recorded its busiest year ever in 2017.

A record 407,646 passengers traveled to and/or from the airport last year, a 23 percent increase from the 2016 total of 330,231 passengers, according to a news release. Last year, Alaska Airlines launched a SLO-Seattle route, and United Airlines opened a nonstop route to Denver. Likewise, United added a fourth daily SLO-San Francisco roundtrip flight.

United Airlines transported 156,368 passengers to and from San Luis Obispo airport in 2017, a 13.9 percent increase from 2016. American Airlines had a total of 156,368 passengers who used SLO airport last year, an 11.8 percent increase.

“It was a great year at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport,” said airport director Kevin Bumen. “Regional travelers continued to discover our great airline service and improved airport experience. As evidenced by our new passenger terminal, San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport is committed to adding amenities and service options passengers have come to expect for their travel needs.”

Bumen anticipates increased growth in 2018. This year, United Airlines will begin flying the larger Embraer 175 aircraft on its SLO-Denver route, as well as on two of its daily LAX flights and one of its daily San Francisco routes.

Unlike the currently used 50-seat Canadian Regional Jet 200, the Embraer 175 contains a first-class cabin. It also has more leg room.

United Airlines’ aircraft upgrade marks the single-largest increase in capacity the SLO airport has seen at one time, Bumen said. The airport director attributes the shift in aircrafts to the county’s commitment to serving the region’s flight needs.

“We are excited to see that United Airlines has taken note of the fact that both locals and visitors love flying directly into San Luis Obispo and has brought more seats into our region,” Bumen said.