HARLINGEN — Passenger flights at Valley International Airline didn’t match January’s numbers, but still managed to show a 13.3 percent increase in total enplanements for the month of February.
In January, the airport’s passenger carriers reported a 19.4 percent total increase in passenger enplanements for the month.
Of the air passenger carriers at VIA, only Southwest, which was down 2.4 percent in February, showed a drop from last year.
“They had maintenance issues on some of the aircraft and some of the aircraft were canceled,” Marv Esterly, director of aviation, told the airport board last week. “Also, we had flights that were canceled during that month when we had some weather issues as well.
“They were down 2.4 percent but are very happy with what’s going on here,” he added.
All the other passenger airlines flying into VIA showed gains, with United Airlines up 15.7 percent for the month, Sun Country Airlines up 16.1 percent and Delta Air Lines up 0.9 percent.
“Sun Country is doing unbelievably well, thanks to the weather — the cold weather up in the Minneapolis area,” Esterly said. “We’ve got to figure out how we did that this year and do it again next year.”
For the year, Sun Country is up 15.2 percent over last year, he said.
Two other airlines, Frontier and American, both of which recently began service at VIA, were not included in the numbers since they weren’t operating here last February.
“Frontier of course wasn’t here last year but has added 2,300, almost 2,400, passengers to the mix at Valley International,” Esterly said.
Esterly told the board that the airport’s charter flights were up 20 percent for the month.
Valley International has emerged as the leading air cargo port in the Rio Grande Valley, but February cargo numbers showed a decrease from last year.
“That may have had something to do with weather as well,” Esterly said. “FedEx was down 10.6 percent and Southwest was down 11 percent, and ADX (ADX Cargo) still held their own, they were up 8.7 percent.
“Overall for the month we were down 4.3 percent,” he added. “We’ll keep an eye on that to see how we go. It may be a fluke month. But for the year we’re up 13 percent over last year.”
February enplanements by airline
Southwest Down 2.4 percent
United Up 15.7 percent
Sun Country Up 16.1 percent
Delta Up 0.9 percent
Total Up 13.3 percent