Bay Area airports see significant increase in passenger traffic in 2016

Traffic at all three major Bay Area airports increased significantly last year, airport officials announced this week.   

In 2016, San Francisco International Airport served more than 53.1 million passengers, an increase from the 50 million passengers served in 2015, marking a 10 percent increase according to the airport.   

The increase is the seventh straight year of passenger traffic growth at SFO.  "The unprecedented passenger traffic growth at SFO reaffirms our status as the premier international gateway for the Bay Area," SFO's Airport
Director Ivar Satero said in a statement. "These gains are a win for travelers, but are also a benefit for local Bay Area economies, as it translates to more jobs and more business income," he said.

The growth is partly credited with new international airlines at the airport, including the addition of WOW Air, Fiji Airways and Volaris.

Additionally, United Airlines launched three new international destinations from SFO in 2016, including first-ever nonstop flights to Tel Aviv and X'ian and Hangzhou in China. China Eastern Airlines also added the
first nonstop service to Quingdoa.

With the new destinations, SFO now serves more cities in China than any other American airport, according to SFO officials.

Oakland International Airport also reported a significant increase in passenger traffic last year.

In 2016, the airport saw more than 12 million passengers, marking a 7.7 percent increase from 2015, in which 11.2 million passengers were served at the airport, airport officials said.   

Last year, the airport had its busiest year for passenger traffic since 2007, when the airport saw 14.6 million passengers.

The continued growth is being credited with the addition of several new domestic and international routes in 2016.  

"OAK is a growing gateway linking the San Francisco Bay Area, its globally leading business environment and world renowned tourism attractions to over 60 nonstop destinations across the globe. We are encouraged by the sustained growth and look forward to further expansion in 2017 with new destinations already announced," the Port of Oakland's Director of Aviation Bryant Francis said in a statement.    

This year, the airport is set to add several new nonstop routes, including the addition of new routes to Europe from British Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle, which will make Oakland airport the third busiest gateway to Europe in the state, according to Oakland airport officials.

Furthermore, on Feb. 12 Southwest Airlines will add two new nonstop routes to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, Mexico. 

Oakland Airport is currently the fourth busiest airport in the state the second busiest in the Bay Area, airport officials said.

Mineta San Jose International Airport also saw an increase in passenger traffic last year, airport officials said.

With 10.8 million passengers served in 2016, airport traffic went up by nearly 1 million more passengers than the previous year, translating to a 10.2 percent increase.    

The increase also marks the fourth consecutive year of solid passenger growth, according to San Jose airport officials.

"2016 was a game-changing year for Silicon Valley's airport, with the addition of four new international destinations and several new domestic routes," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a statement. "I'd like to thank our 14 airlines for their confidence and investments in SJC, as well as the many partners who have been integral to achieving this double-digit growth, including our dedicated airport staff, Silicon Valley business partners, and the millions of travelers who choose SJC," Liccardo said.    

According to airport officials, the growth is the direct result of the addition of several new international flights that were added in 2016. That includes the addition of Frankfurt on Lufthansa, London Heathrow on
British Airways, Shanghai on Air China, and Vancouver on Air Canada.    

Airport officials expect the trend in passenger growth to continue into the first six months of this year, as several new routes will be added, providing more options for travelers and visitors in Silicon Valley.    

Those new routes include daily flights to Long Beach, Chicago, Newark, New York, Burbank, Charlotte, Atlanta, Reno and Vancouver, according to San Jose airport officials.

"I am so proud of the Airport team's work in achieving a fourth consecutive year of solid passenger growth in 2016," Director of Aviation Kim Becker said in a statement. "With new and expanded airline service, we also
achieved the distinction as No. 1 of 50 U.S. airports for passenger capacity growth in the calendar year, which is a significant accomplishment." 

"Also of importance, this growth has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic impact, and has created new jobs at the Airport and within our community," Becker said.