SRQ Airport records first dip in passenger total, month-over-month, since 2022 began

Still, president and CEO expects airport to break its passenger record by Sept. 30 end of fiscal year

In June, for the first time this calendar year, the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) recorded a month-over-month decrease in its passenger count

The June total was 288,420, which was down 7.8% from the figure for June 2021, a news release notes.

Nonetheless, the release points out, the number of passengers traveling through SRQ for the first six months of this year added up to 2,093,305, which is a 43% jump, compared to the 1,459,691 total through June 2021, the release says.

Just through the first four months of this year, SRQ noted in an earlier release, the passenger count marked a 71.15% hike from the number who traveled through the airport during the first four months of 2021.

The March figure was up 59.5%, compared to the total in March 2021, and the April count marked a 31% increase, compared to the figure for April 2021, the airport announced in earlier news releases.

March and April typically are the biggest months for tourism in Sarasota County, as shown in the county’s Tourist Development Tax — or, “bed tax” — reports released by Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates.

In January, SRQ reported a 138% jump in the number of passengers, compared to the January 2021 total, and the February passenger figure was more than double the February 2021 number.

In the latest news release, SRQ President and CEO Frederick “Rick” Piccolo said, “We are starting to see a slight dip in the number of flights scheduled for our summer months.” However, he continued, the aircraft serving the airport “are operating with much higher passenger loads than last year. This follows a nationwide trend of flight reductions due to much higher fuel prices, airline staffing shortages, and fears of a recession.”

“Even with the slight dip in flights and passengers this summer, we expect to end our fiscal year on September 30th with a new record” of more than 3.5 million passengers, Piccolo pointed out.

For 2023 fiscal year, which will begin on Oct. 1, Piccolo added that staff also expects passenger growth to continue, “as we welcome the return of Air Canada with flights to Toronto and Allegiant service to Minneapolis, Minnesota.”