BOSTON (CBS) – They’re celebrating the old year at Massport this week.
Preliminary passenger numbers for the port authority that runs Logan Airport indicate that the number of passengers flying in and out of Boston was up over five percent to more than 29 million in 2011.
That’s a new record. The previous mark was 28,102,455 set in 2007.
While most people give much of the credit for the increase to low-cost carriers JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, international carriers flying to Europe accounted for about 475,000 of the total increase.
This would be a 10-percent jump over last year and is a strong indicator of the health of the New England economy.
Last year, Delta Airlines added international flights to London and Paris for the first time.
International flights from Boston this year to Europe may be in for a schedule change caused by the bankruptcy of American Airlines and their participation in the One World Alliance.
American normally operates two daily flights to London in the peak summer season while its alliance partner British Airways has three.
Any loss of scheduled service could be offset by the start of non-stop Japan Air Lines service from Boston to Tokyo on April 22.
You can look for Massport and the city’s tourism industry to hold several events leading up to that launch. Service to the Far East has been one of Massport’s major goals for new service for the past decade.
The new Boeing Dreamliner that will be operated on the new route is the only aircraft that can make the journey with its new fuel efficient operation. JAL is expected to take delivery of the Boston aircraft in February.
Domestic flights from Logan are also expected to grow in 2012.
JetBlue continues to add destinations with more gates in Terminal C. As Southwest finalizes its merger with Air Tran later this year, it could also increase service to Atlanta and Florida.
All of this growth at Logan has come at the expense of passengers using the airports in Manchester and Providence.
T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island stands the best chance to reverse the downward figures of the last few years.
JetBlue is seriously considering T.F. Green for expansion and the MBTA is now offering more direct service from Massachusetts.
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