Increased Flight Activity Pushed Aircraft Movements To More Than 535,000
Philadelphia - According to preliminary year-ending statistics compiled by Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA), an industry group, aircraft operations at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in 2005 totaled an all-time high 535,666, which distinguished PHL as the 9th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft activity. Aircraft activity has increased 29% since 1996, when PHL ranked 21st in the world in this category.
The Airport's astounding 10.2% growth in aircraft movements from the previous year pushed the only major airport serving the nation's fifth largest metropolitan region into the Top 10 worldwide rankings. The operations encompass commercial, cargo, general aviation and military aircraft activity.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment," noted Mayor John F. Street. "These statistics highlight the important role PHL plays in accommodating the air transportation needs of a variety of business and leisure markets. World-class cities need world-class airports, and Philadelphia International Airport is a wonderful gateway in our City for travelers coming here from around the country and the world."
The operational growth was accompanied by another round of record-breaking numbers in passenger traffic in 2005. Continuing a steady passenger growth trend that began in 2003, PHL accommodated 31.5 million total air travelers, including 4.1 million international travelers, in 2005. The passenger totals are all-time highs and represent increases of 10.5% and 2.3%, respectively, from 2004. Since 2003, PHL's passenger traffic has skyrocketed by 28%.
Based on preliminary reporting by other airports, PHL ranked 15th in the nation and 25th in the world in total passenger traffic last year. As recently as 1996, PHL was ranked 24th in the nation and 40th in the world in this category. Passenger traffic has grown 63% over that 10-year span.
The continuous upswing in passenger traffic is the result of the growing demand for air travel as well as the Airport's successful efforts to make PHL appealing to airlines seeking to introduce or expand service and to passengers seeking competitive fares and multiple flight options.
"This rate of growth can only be sustained with improvements to our airfield, coupled with innovative air traffic management by the Federal Aviation Administration," cautioned Charles J. Isdell, the City's Director of Aviation. "We are working aggressively to address both issues in the best interest of our customers and all of the citizens of this region."
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The Philadelphia Airport System is owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia and is composed of Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The Airport System is a self-sustaining entity that operates without the use of local tax dollars. It is one of the largest economic engines in Pennsylvania, generating an estimated $14 billion in spending to the regional economy and employing a workforce of nearly 34,000.