Biz Buzz: October airport traffic shows takeoff from last year

More commuters used the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport in October than in the preceding October, prolonging an upward trajectory in airport use, according to Airport Manager Richard Howell.

Howell said in a news release that year-over-year usage climbed by 19 percent.

The news comes two weeks after a report from county General Services Director Janette Pell that delineated a growth trend after years of decline.

According to charts that Pell presented to the Board of Supervisors in early November, the number of people boarding airplanes locally increased from the same period a year ago — by 1,006 from January through March, by 3,047 from April through June and by 3,333 from July through September.

Even with the increases, fewer passengers are using the local airport than a few years ago, according to Pell's figures. For example, the 36,301 boardings from July through September are well below the number in the same quarter three years ago, when there were 51,343.

Nonetheless, she said, the airport is experiencing a positive growth trend, and Howell's news release provides more evidence.

Airport officials continue to aggressively promote the airport and seek additional air service providers.

Expansion at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport has been a subject of controversy in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of federal, state and local tax dollars have been set aside for expansion. But a new parking garage and larger terminal had to be put on hold when the economy stumbled.