Wisconsin Airports Look To Grow Along With Passenger Traffic

Dane County Regional Airport Planning For Expansion Following Double-Digit Passenger Growth

Airplane in flight
David J. Phillip/AP Photo

Wisconsin airport officials are pointing toward the strong economy as one reason they’re seeing more passengers.

Dane County Regional Airport reports an increase of more than 10 percent in passenger traffic compared to a year ago.

The airport has been working on expanding its parking and other amenities to accommodate the additional travelers, said Dane County Regional Airport Spokesman Brent McHenry.

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“We’re just in the final works of beginning the construction of some additional gates and additional space in the terminal — restaurants and restrooms and things like that,” McHenry said. “Because we do see this growth and we know that it’s likely to continue.”

Airport officials have also pointed to expanded service as a growth factor.

Dane County Regional Airport has added direct service to Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco this year.

McHenry said expanded routes can boost passenger levels, as long as there isn’t too much expansion too soon.

“They really need to look long term, to make sure that it is going to be sustainable — not just for the airline, but for the community,” McHenry said. “What really hurts an airline and a community is when they put something in and it doesn’t work and they have to remove it.”

General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee continues to see more passengers as well.

The state’s largest airport reports more than 3 percent growth in passenger traffic in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2017.

Airlines operating out of Mitchell have added new nonstop routes to San Diego, Cleveland and Nashville, and added additional flights to other cities they already serve.