Year-end statistics released by the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) indicate that 2011 was the airport’s busiest year since 2004, with a 7% increase over last year in travelers. An estimated 60% of PIE’s 833,068 passengers were inbound visitors to the area.
The upward trend reflects the dominance of Allegiant Air, a low-fare airline that arrived at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International in 2006. According to PIE’s reports, 90% of their travelers flew Allegiant last year, which offers non-stop service to 23 destinations.
Taking advantage of Allegiant’s affordability and expanding schedule are PIE passengers from counties as far-flung as Sarasota and Polk, as well as those from Pinellas County, where half of all PIE outbounders live.
The airport’s last quarter results, which encompass the holiday season, were up 16% in 2011. PIE and Allegiant continue to court Canadian visitors by offering seasonal service to Toronto and Halifax.
And the airport’s efforts continue to pay off. According to the Florida Department of Transportation’s 2010 economic impact study, St. Petersburg-Clearwater alone is responsible for adding nearly $924 million annually to the local economy.
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