PIA looks back at 2016

PEORIA, IL -- The General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA) saw 623,134 passengers in 2016, less than 3 percent lower than record-breaking 2015.

In addition, PIA had several notable highlights in 2016, including the dedication in April of the new Ray LaHood International Terminal, named in honor of former U.S. Transportation Secretary and Congressman Ray LaHood.

The terminal, including a full-service Customs and Border Protection facility and dual-purpose gates for domestic or international travel, was the first major addition since PIA's main terminal opened in April 2011.

PIA also added new twice-daily flights to Charlotte, NC in November, giving Central Illinois direct access to six major hubs, including four of the five most connected airports in the world.

Now with 12 destinations, PIA has more nonstop flights than any other Illinois airport outside of Chicago. 

"We made a number of strides in 2016 that we are particularly proud of, including opening the new international terminal," said Gene Olson, Director of Airports for the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria. "Our growth trajectory has been such that we needed -- and immediately filled -- the new gates we added earlier this year."

Olson noted that 2017 is also off to a good start. In February, American Airlines will upgrade to larger jets for flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), offering first class service in Peoria for the first time in many years.

Additionally, low-cost carrier Allegiant just announced that it will start seasonal service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) starting in May.

"We expect a direct flight to the Emerald Coast will be very popular because of the many generations from this area who vacation there, and we've been overwhelmed by positive responses since the announcement," Olson said. "Meanwhile, Charlotte, our newest route, continues to gain steam as travelers recognize that it is a great way to connect to the East Coast and abroad."

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) is American Airlines' second-largest hub, with more than 700 daily flights, including daily connections to key cities such as Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston and Baltimore.

OAG, an aviation data analytics company, recently released its 2016 Megahubs Index, which measured possible connections at the world's 100 largest airports. Chicago O'Hare International Airport led the list, followed by Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver and Charlotte.

With the addition of Charlotte, PIA now flies to four of the five most connected airports in the world.

"We know that travelers have options so we very much appreciate the community's support," said Olson. "For our part, we're going to continue to make PIA the airport that people want to travel from."

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  • For information, contact:
  • Gene Olson, Director of Airports
  • Phone: 309-697-8272
  • Email: golson@flypia.com

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