SIOUX FALLS | Sioux Falls' airport saw record traffic in 2017 for the seventh consecutive year, but this year could see a drop.
The Sioux Falls Regional Airport had more than a million passengers go through the airport last year, the Argus Leader reported. The spike is largely due to Frontier competing with Allegiant in adding direct flights to Las Vegas, said Dan Letellier, the airport's executive director.
"We had more seats, and especially to Las Vegas, those were pretty low fares between those carriers trying to fill their seats up," he said. "That boosted our numbers quite a bit last year."
Frontier added four flights to Las Vegas each week last summer, nearly doubling the number of flights out of Sioux Falls. The two carriers had also been competing for customers with price specials.
But Frontier recently decided to discontinue its direct flights between Sioux Falls and Las Vegas after its surge in flights last summer.
"People love to go to Vegas, but that's a lot of seats to Vegas for our size of community," Letellier said.
Letellier expects the loss of additional flights to result in an up to 12 percent decrease in seats this year, lowering the passenger totals for 2018.
"It'll be a little tougher this year to make it eight years in a row," he said. "When you lose 10-12 percent of your available seats in the summer months, that's hard to recover from."
Frontier flights out of Sioux Falls began April 11 this year, with four direct flights a week to Denver.