Central Illinois Regional Airport saw a 16-percent drop in ridership in 2012. (Photo by B Corbin/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - Central Illinois Regional Airport's ridership fell 16 percent last year, and airport officials hope the arrival of a new airbus will help ridership numbers takeoff.
The new Delta plane that will fly to and from Atlanta daily starting March 2 carries 120 passengers, nearly twice the number of seats on the jets Delta currently uses. Delta will also offer first-class seating.
"It's great for our customers, better service, more comfort and more seats for us. It shows the Delta has a true interest in us and investing here<" Streibing said.
CIRA spokeswoman Fran Streibing added the reason ridership dropped last year was a reduction in available seats caused by Air Tran's departure.
"One of the issues that has been plaguing us a little bit in these last six, seven months is we have fewer seats to sell out of our airport when AirTran left us," Streibing said. "That has been our issue. Demand is still there for air travel."
Streibing added that Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines new service haven't fully made up for the loss of Air Tran's flights.
An estimated 485,000 passengers flew in or out of CIRA in 2012, representing a 16.2 percent drop from 2012 totals, after a string of record-breaking years.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.