Passenger traffic at Piedmont Triad International Airport continued to get back on track last year, which may lead airport officials to look at ways to handle the need to park all the cars of travelers.
The number of passengers boarding flights at PTIA increased 4.6 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to figures released Tuesday during the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority meeting. The number of passengers boarding flights increased to 1.35 million during 2004 from 1.29 million during 2003.
The year-to-year gains represent the best annual performance of the airport since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks stunted air travel.
The rebound in travel has airport officials examining whether they need to expand their parking capacity.
PTIA Executive Director Ted Johnson said that the airport has approximately 5,500 parking spaces. Next month, PTIA staff will report to the airport's governing board on how parking might be expanded.
One option involves building a parking deck that would hold between 2,000 and 3,000 vehicles, Johnson said. The deck, which he estimates would cost between $20 million and $30 million, would be built near the existing decks across from the main terminal.
A feasibility study on a new parking deck should be presented at the February authority meeting.
Johnson said the 2004 passenger gains weren't dynamic, but steady.
The addition of discount carrier Independence Air, along with lower fares offered by other airlines serving PTIA, contributed to the 2004 passenger gains, Johnson said.