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Eastern Iowa Airport sets passenger record in 2018

5.4 percent increase from record set in 2017

Passengers walk around a new section of the terminal at Gate 3 as work continues on the third phase of the terminal modernization project at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Passengers walk around a new section of the terminal at Gate 3 as work continues on the third phase of the terminal modernization project at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Eastern Iowa Airport has once again set a new annual passenger record.

The airport saw more than 1.2 million enplaned passengers — people boarding a plane at Eastern Iowa Airport — in 2018, marking a 5.4 percent increase from the previous annual passenger record set in 2017, according to a Wednesday news release.

“We have to thank the entire region of (the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area) for showing its support by flying local,” Airport Director Marty Lenss said in the release. “By flying (Eastern Iowa Airport) you are investing in the regional economy and supporting the air service our airline partners are providing.”

Those growing numbers will prove important to future investment in the airport because Federal Airport Improvement Program entitlement funds are based on enplaned passenger numbers. Those grants are used for infrastructure upgrades to runways, taxiways and some are going toward the airport’s ongoing terminal upgrade project.

Eastern Iowa Airport also saw record-setting air cargo numbers last year, with more than 65 million pounds of air cargo shipped out of the airport. That is an 18 percent increase from 2017’s cargo numbers.

The airport now handles almost half of all the state’s cargo volume.

To address freight needs, the airport is in the midst of a more than $10 million overhaul of the airport’s cargo facilities. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2019.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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