Alaska Airlines photo provided by FAT
Posted on January 30, 2023 – 11:22
Written by Frank Lopez
Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) has once again set a record for the number of passengers served in a year.
FAT announced a record passenger volume of more than 2.1 million in 2022 on Monday.
This is a 12% increase from 2021, which served 1.94 million passengers and the highest volume since 2019, when 1.96 million passengers traveled via FAT.
FAT passenger traffic in 2022 increased at a rate of 122% compared to the national average of 99%. This growth rate placed FAT fourth in the US Pacific region and 13th nationally.
When comparing 2019 to 2022, FAT grew 110% versus the national average of 91%, finishing fourth in the Pacific Region and improving to 12th nationally.
“I am extremely proud to have one of the fastest growing airports in the nation,” Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said. “As our airport grows, so does our economy. I am also very pleased with the progress being made with the expansion of our terminal that will triple our international capacity. Big cities have big airports, and we are well on our way to having a big airport.”
Over the last 12 months, the domestic airlines load factor of FAT (how full an aircraft is) was 83%, with four of the previous six months above 88%. Load factors are at their highest since 2015, a time when passenger load factors exceeded 86%.
These figures make the last 12 months the second highest annualized load factors since 1990.
The international airport market to Mexico continues to outperform previous years with an increase of approximately 20% in 2022 compared to 2021.
Coupled with FAT’s strong load factors in 2022, the airport ranked third among North American airports for airline on-time performance.
“Fresno Yosemite International Airport continues to be one of the top performing airports in recovery and passenger growth driven by our airline partners meeting the demand for air service for Central Valley travelers,” said Henry Thompson, Director of Aviation for FAT. “With more travelers using FAT choosing their hometown airport, Fresno can make a strong case to airline planners about expanded air service opportunities in our market.”
Aircraft caliber upgrading, which refers to changing aircraft while maintaining the same flight number, has increased in recent years with an average aircraft size increase of 26% since 2019, resulting in more departing passengers by flight.
Cargo moved through the airport in 2022 totaled more than 30 million pounds, an increase of 6.5% over 2019, when nearly 29 million pounds moved via FAT.
There are also plans to increase capacity at FAT through increased frequency to Dallas-Fort Worth on American Airlines to four daily flights from three starting in February.
There will also be an increase in daily flights to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines, as it will go from three to four flights starting in July, representing a 25% increase in capacity.
There’s also the anticipated return of United Airlines daily seasonal service to Chicago this spring.