The number of people boarding flights at Erie International Airport has increased for the first time in the past six years.   The increase in flyers brings hope that new flights will be added.

             

Late last year, American Airlines retired their Dash-8 prop planes and replaced them with 50-seat regional jets.   That created 40 more seats out of Erie each day among two outbound flights. The Erie Airport now has 15,000 additional seats each year for outbound flights, and already the numbers of passengers are starting to increase.
    

According to George Doughty, Executive Director of the Erie Airport Authority, passenger traffic is up by 2% in the first three months of this year, compared to last year.  That's with the miserable weather in this area, especially in January and February.
    

The increase in passenger traffic is expected to increase throughout this year. With the increase in passengers, the airport authority is stepping up its push to bring more flights and provide more destinations.

 

"We have  talked to United about Newark. They have expressed interest, but they're not there yet.  We've talked to them about additional frequencies, or larger aircraft. And, we've talked to SkyWest, which is Delta's affiliate carrier that flies for Delta, about additional frequencies into Detroit,” Doughty said.

   

Other possible destinations include Atlanta or Charlotte, but Doughty says those conversations have not aroused much interest from the airlines. As far as larger airplanes flying into Erie, Doughty says, “There isn't an aircraft flying that can't come in here and land on our new runway.”