Indianapolis International Airport sets record, welcomes more than 8.5 million passengers

Indianapolis International Airport

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis International Airport set a record in 2016, welcoming more than 8.5 million passengers.

That’s the largest number of travelers at the airport since the current terminal opened in 2008. The airport served half a million more passengers in 2016 than the year before. It came within 1 percent of beating the all-time record for Indy airport operations set in 2005.

“We knew we were very likely looking at history-making news in the fall, when we saw an accumulation of record-breaking months in April, June, September and October,” said Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. “This has become a trend for IND. In the last three years, we’ve maintained or grown passenger traffic year over year in 33 of 36 months.”

Rodriguez said passenger momentum started to pick up late last fall. Prior to November 2015, the airport hadn’t broken a monthly passenger record since July 2008.

Southwest, American, Delta and United were responsible for the bulk of passenger traffic. Southwest brought 33 percent of passenger travel through the airport.

“Our airline partners collectively increased seat capacity by nine percent in 2016, which means they made a strategic decision to invest in making more seats available for passengers to fly,” Rodriguez said. “Southwest alone carried enough passengers to equate to nearly half of the residential population of Indiana.”

Airport officials said an increase in nonstop destinations helped boost passenger numbers, with new flights to Chicago, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Punta Cana, and Savannah launching in 2016.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority said IAA operations contributed more than $5.4 billion to the Marion County economy and supported more than 22,000 jobs.