Charleston airport sets record for passengers

Charleston International Airport

Leroy Burnell

A record number of passengers passed through Charleston International Airport last year.

The airport reported Thursday that 2.5 million people traveled through its terminals in 2011, 25 percent more than the previous year.

The previous record of 2.3 million passengers was set in 2008.

The airport noted that total passenger traffic in the U.S. declined by 1 percent last year and the average airfare in Charleston fell 7.2 percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Chip Limehouse, chairman of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, pointed to the addition of Southwest Airlines’ new service out of Charleston starting last March as a significant factor for the increase in passengers and decrease in costs.

“This new service increased competition in our region and provided additional travel opportunities for our citizens at a lower cost,” Limehouse said.