2016 a record-setting busy year for Ford Airport

(file photo)

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has set a new all-time passenger record for 2016, marking the fourth consecutive year the airport has seen record-setting growth.

“Eventually maybe a record has to stop. The Yankees eventually stopped winning World Series titles. We want to be like the Yankees and keep breaking our own records,” said Tara Hernandez, marketing and communications director for the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. “We want to continue that for another four years.”

Hernandez said community businesses’ input on their frequent travel destinations helped the airport determine what flight routes to add, leading to another successful year.generic Gerald R. Ford International Airport

“I think it’s a collaboration of a little bit of everything. Hopefully we have changed our image over the years and we mean our slogan which is getting there is better here and it is better here. We’re better than Detroit we’re better than Chicago and we’re not afraid to say that,” said Hernandez.

The Ford Airport handled a total of 2,653,630 passengers in 2016. That’s a four percent increase over how their record-setting year in 2015, when they saw 2,550,193 passengers.

“Our community, our region in West Michigan continue to grow, especially the 14-county area around Grand Rapids. We’re seeing more and more people coming in. We’re seeing people driving in from Lansing up far north in Big Rapids and Mount Pleasant – some of those college students taking those vacation and utilizing those spring breaks,” said Hernandez.

In nine out of the last 12 months, more passengers passed through Ford Airport than the year prior. The airport first broke its record in 2013 with 2,237,979 passengers, and it’s only gone up from there.

Southwest Airlines, Ford Airport, Midway Airport
A Southwest Airways flight departs from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport to Chicago Midway on April, 12, 2016.

“We’re happy with 2016. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but I think we are only on pace to keep continuing to grow,” Hernandez said.

“This is a testament to the growing West Michigan community and the investment our airline partners have made at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport,” said airport president and CEO Jim Gill. “This growth further justifies the need for our Gateway Transformation Project to accommodate the increasing passenger demand, and the need our airlines have in gate space, amenities, and customer service offerings.”

The Gateway Transformation Project underway at the airport will consolidate the security checkpoints for concourses A and B and add amenities both before and after the screening area. The work is expected to be complete this summer.