Rochester, MN (January 9, 2019) – 2018 was a record year for total passengers at the Rochester
International Airport (RST). 366,542 people flew in and out of RST last year, an all-time high in
the history of the airport and a 26% increase over 2017. The previous record was 344,556 total
passengers in 1977.
“We are incredibly grateful for the increased support” said John Reed, RST’s executive director.
“Local travelers are understanding their choice of airport can have a positive impact on our
region and more often are choosing to Fly Local.” Over the past few years, retention of local
travelers has doubled from 12% to 24%.
Flight options from RST increased when United Airlines established new service, Delta Air Lines
increased flights to MSP and Atlanta and American Airlines increased aircraft size. Travelers are
benefitting from the competition with average airfare at RST declining 13% last year.
The air service industry is faced with a major challenge of pilot shortages. With fewer resources
available to airlines, local support is vital in retaining and recruiting air service.
“Airlines are paying attention to this new commitment to use RST. We know, based on the travel
data, we have a very strong case to recruit service to a major western hub like Dallas or Denver”
said John Reed. “The airport cannot recruit that service alone. It takes local travelers filling the
planes now to bring more service to our region.”