New airlines coming to Sanford?

Sanford’s airport is on pace to have a record year, and that could bode well for adding additional destinations and airlines.

Through the first six months of 2015, passenger traffic at Orlando Sanford international airport stands at 1.253 million. That’s an 11% increase over the same period in 2014. If those games continue for the rest of the year, and airport officials predict they will, annual traffic will top 2.4 million, an all-time record.

In June, 248,375 passengers traveled through the Sanford Airport. Of that total, 216,803 we’re domestic travelers.

Larry Gouldthorpe, president of ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide, said passenger growth at the airport is expected to continue for several months.

“if we continue to see these double-digit increases we’re going to be way ahead of airports across the country,” said Gouldthorpe, who’s company, ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide, is the private sector firm charged with the day today operations of the airport.

Gouldthorpe met with a number of airline executives at a recent industry conference in Seattle. Those airlines were interested in providing service to Sanford.

While cautious about predicting when or which carriers might come to Sanford, Gouldthorpe said the airport is well positioned to land new airlines for three reasons:

  1. Fuel prices remain low, so airlines are in an expansion mode.
  2. Orlando international Airport is about to launch a $3 billion expansion project that is expected to increase airline fees. With airlines operating on tight profit margins, such an increase would make Sanford, which has much lower fees, more attractive.
  3. Allegiant Air, Sanford’s only domestic carrier, has traditionally flown to smaller markets like Knoxville Tenn. or Springfield Mo. The airline has recently begun flying to larger markets like Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Gouldthorpe said that may prompt other airlines to offer service to Sanford to protect their market share.

The airport has the capacity to handle 5 million passengers per year before expansion will be needed, said Sanford Airport Authority CEO and president Larry Dale.

– by Dan Ping


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