CLEARWATER — It's official: 2013 was St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport's best year in terms of passengers numbers in almost a decade.
The airport reported that a total of 1,017,049 passengers used the airport last year. The airport hasn't broached the 1 million passenger mark since it hit a record 1.3 million travelers in 2004. The airport has only broken the million passenger barrier four times since commercial service started there in the 1950s.
In 2013, the airport reported a 17 percent increase in the number of passengers from 2012, when the airport served 865,942. In fact, St. Pete-Clearwater International saw eight consecutive months of passenger growth in 2013 compared with the same time period the year before.
The airport finished 2013 with a very strong December. There were 97,098 passengers who used the airport that month, which was a 39 percent increase from December 2012.
St. Pete-Clearwater International expects stronger numbers this year by adding more destinations and because its dominant carrier, discount airline Allegiant Air, will be adding higher-capacity Airbus A-320s to the fleet serving the airport this year.