Despite the recent announcement that American Airlines would continue its non-stop service from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport to Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C., airport data indicates that both the number of flights and passengers at SRQ declined in 2013 compared with the year prior.
According to data released by airport officials, there were 89,391 total aircraft operations through the end of November 2013 (the most current data publicly available)— a 9.93% drop from the 99,241 recorded flights by that point in 2012.
While the decline in flight operations affected all categories of flight, airline flights and general aviation appear to have been hit hardest.
Through November 2013, general aviation flights, which comprise all privately operated aircraft flights, were down 12.29% from 2012. Commercial airline flights dropped 11.1% from the year prior.
Commuter airline flights were the least affected of all aviation categories, falling by only 0.73% in 2013.
The drop in general aviation flights at Sarasota-Bradenton parallels a national trend in reduced general aviation operations. A 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study pointed to increased aviation regulations and rising aircraft maintenance and operating costs as the forces driving the decline in the $76.5 billion industry.
The MIT study found that general aviation operations had decreased by 28% in 2010 from the industry’s peak in the 1980s.
Contact Nolan Peterson at [email protected]