Detroit Metro Airport passenger traffic holds steady in 2011

Posted: 31 January 2012 | Meltwater Press | No comments yet

Air cargo continues to rebound, while total aircraft operations decline…

Detroit Metro Airport

Passenger traffic at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) held relatively steady in 2011, up a slight 0.1% over 2010 totals. The airport saw 32,406,159 total passengers last year, up from 32,377,064 in 2010, according to the Wayne County Airport Authority.

Meanwhile, 455,169,670 lbs. of cargo passed through the airport in 2011 compared to 426,324,086 lbs. in 2010—an increase of 6.8%.

“The growth in traffic at Detroit Metro Airport last year, however slight, is a positive sign in the current climate where airlines are exercising extreme capacity discipline and fuel prices continue to rise,” said WCAA Interim CEO Tom Naughton. “The Airport Authority will certainly continue to identify opportunities for passenger growth, but the continued rise in cargo traffic at the airport year-over-year is indicative of where the real potential for future development lies.”

Total aircraft operations at DTW—the count of take-offs and landings by aircraft of any type—declined to 443,028 in 2011 from 452,616 in 2010. Total landed weights, which are a key metric in how the Airport Authority sets rates and charges to airlines for use of the airport, also increased slightly by 1.3% as airlines move to replace smaller aircraft with new, larger regional jets.

“With its modern terminals and unmatched airfield capacity, Detroit Metro Airport provides a facility for air carriers that is unrivaled in the region and continues to be among the best air transport hubs in the world,” Naughton said.

Delta Air Lines, which operates its second-largest hub and primary transpacific gateway at DTW, continued to be the airport’s busiest air carrier in 2011 handling approximately 80% of passenger traffic (including flights operated by Delta Connection partners). Southwest Airlines, which acquired AirTran Airways last year, overtook long-time runner-up Spirit Airlines for the second spot, carrying about 5.18% of airport passengers. Spirit followed closely in third place with about 4.1% of passenger traffic at DTW. A total of 13 regularly-scheduled passenger airlines, along with scheduled cargo carriers FedEx Express and UPS Airlines, served DTW last year.

A complete year-end traffic report for DTW is available at

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