SRQ airport breaks passenger record again in 2023

Total was up 12%, compared to 2022 record

Image from the homepage of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

For the second year in a row, the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) has set a record for the number of passengers traversing its corridors.

The total for 2023 was 4,322,408, an SRQ news release points out. That is a 12% increase, compared to the 2022 record count of 3,847,606 passengers, the release points out.

Just for the month of December 2023, the release says, SRQ had a tally of 406,113 passengers, which was higher by 7.5% than the December 2022 total of 377,775.

That December 2022 figure came in spite of the 204 flight cancellations that month, SRQ President and CEO Frederick “Rick” Piccolo noted at the time. The cancellations were attributed partly to disruptions related to Winter Storm Elliott. Additionally, Southwest Airlines experienced significant scheduling software problems that necessitated its cancellation of 16,900 flights nationwide, including a number that were expected to depart from SRQ.

For the month of November 2023, a separate news release pointed out, 377,272 passengers traveled through the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, marking a 5% uptick, compared to the count of 359,488 passengers in November 2022.

Through November, that release added, the 12-month activity totaled 4,294,064 passengers, which was a 12.5% hike, compared to the 3,817,099 passengers tallied for the 12 months through November 2022.

In the November release, SRQ President and CEO Piccolo said, “With our passenger numbers continuing to increase each month, it was nice to see that some of the recently completed construction improvements at the airport helped create a smooth travel experience for our customers over the Thanksgiving holiday. The opening of a new 356-space paved parking lot, new 124-space cell phone lot, and an increase in staffing, combined with cooperative weather, allowed passengers to experience the convenient ease of travel that SRQ offers,” he added.

“The record-breaking growth we have seen over the past five years has been phenomenal,” Piccolo said in the latest release. The 2023 passenger count, he noted, was a 215% increase over the 2018 figure and 3 million more passengers than the 1.3 million recorded “just five years ago.”

Further, Piccolo pointed out, “The number of airlines and routes served at SRQ has also continued to grow over the last five years, expanding from six airlines to 11,” with the number of nonstop destinations climbing from 12 to 53.

“This significant growth has presented various challenges for management, who have been diligently working to meet the airport’s evolving needs,” Piccolo continued. “Over the past five years,” he said, “several essential construction projects were successfully accomplished. These include expansion of the jet fuel storage facility, which tripled in size, the enlargement of the screening checkpoint by 33%, and the creation of additional parking lots.

“Furthermore,” Piccolo noted, the airport has several ongoing projects, including construction of a new concourse with five additional aircraft gates, expansion of the ground transportation area, and the addition of new food and beverage concessions.

This is a rendering of a portion of the new ground terminal for the airport. Image courtesy Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

“For 2024,” Piccolo said, “we anticipate continued growth as future airline schedules reveal increased seats inbound and outbound at SRQ. By December,” he added, “we expect construction to be complete on the new five-gate terminal, which is scheduled to open to the public in January 2025.”
That facility, he pointed out, “will not only alleviate congestion in Concourse B, but also allow the airlines serving SRQ to expand their flight offerings and introduce new destinations.”