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QC Airport sees strong start to 2024

February 21, 2024

The QC Airport saw growth in the month of January year over year despite winter storms that resulted in system-wide cancellations. January 2024 saw a 7 percent increase of outbound passengers over January 2023, with American Airlines making the biggest jump in passengers inbound and outbound of the Quad Cities. American Airlines increased their market share by 12 points thanks to daily service to Charlotte that began Dec. 20, 2023.

“An overwhelming number of regional airports still have fewer flights today than prior to the pandemic, including MLI, but January’s activity shows that as airlines add capacity back to our market, we can fill planes,” said Ashleigh Davis, public relations and marketing manager at the Quad Cities International Airport. “Demand in the Quad Cities is strong, particularly for American Airlines’ new daily service to Charlotte. We hope this will give airlines confidence to continue investing in our market.”

The airport experienced growth prior to the pandemic. However, the extended global decline in travel caused the biggest disruption to commercial aviation in its history. As a result, the looming pilot shortage was exacerbated by early retirements and resignations, some regional carriers folded, new strategies were deployed, and new carriers emerged. Delta, which used to have the largest market share in the Quad Cities, retired all 50-seat aircraft in their fleet and took a unique approach to recovery compared to other legacy carriers.

In addition to strong traffic in January, typically one of the slowest air travel months of the year, Allegiant Air also extended service to Phoenix/Mesa throughout the summer. For the past several years, it was a seasonal offering, pausing service between May-October.

“In addition to working with our current airline partners to advocate for increased frequency and service, we believe there is opportunity for new airline partners to enter our market as well,” said Davis. “Airlines decide when and where to add service but we are continually evolving our approach to advocacy and data collection so we can tell the best possible story about our region and travel needs.”

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