As airlines laid on more flights and frequencies in 2016, the three Bay Area airports all reported fast-growing passenger traffic in statistics released this week.
Officials at San Francisco International said the airport handled a record 53.1 million travelers last year, a gain of 6.1 percent from 2015 and the seventh straight year of growth for the facility.
The jump in traffic was even greater for international flights at SFO, officials said, with a 10 percent increase over 2015. (And in 2015, SFO’s 9 percent increase in international traffic was the highest growth rate for any U.S. airport.)
That’s great news for the city and the airport, but not such great news for travelers who’ve found themselves more frequently waiting on the tarmac after long flights because another plane is at their gate.
New international carriers coming to SFO last year included Iceland’s WOW, Fiji Airways, and Mexico’s Volaris. United Airlines added three international destinations, including Tel Aviv and the Chinese cities of X’ian and Hangzhou; and China Eastern started non-stop service from SFO to Quingdao. That gives SFO service to more cities in China than any other airport in the Americas, officials said.
At Mineta San Jose International, 2016 traffic surged by almost 1 million passengers last year, to a total of 10.8 million. That represented an increase of 10.2 percent over the previous year, and marked SJC’s fourth straight year of traffic increases.
SJC added new international service in 2016 from Lufthansa to Frankfurt, British Airways to London Heathrow, Air China to Shanghai, and Air Canada to Vancouver. In addition, Southwest added a new transcon route to Baltimore/Washington and American started seasonal transcon service to its Charlotte hub. This spring, the airport expects to finish work on an $8 million expansion of its International Arrivals Building.
Oakland International’s 2016 passenger total hit almost 12.1 million, a growth rate of 7.7 percent from the previous year. That caps 37 straight months of increasing numbers, and gave the airport its busiest year since 2007, when it hosted 14.6 million travelers.
That makes OAK California’s fourth-busiest airport. Southwest is set to continue its steady growth at OAK in 2017 with new international service to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, as well as new transcons to Newark; meanwhile, new transatlantic flights coming to OAK this year include British Airways to London Gatwick in March, along with Norwegian Air service to Copenhagen in March and Barcelona in June.