May 13, 2019
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is accelerating plans to add capacity at Jacksonville International Airport since growth began soaring in 2018. The airport was North America's fastest growing last year, and it's growing even faster in 2019.
"The [Federal Aviation Authority's] standard for airport growth is 3 percent," JAA CEO Mark VanLoh recently said at an event hosted by Holland & Knight. "We're at 22 percent some months."
As JAA advances with renovations and the design of Concourse B, which will add six to 12 gates by 2022, it is formulating a masterplan that will create a blueprint for the airport's future.
Preliminary masterplan data, obtained by the Business Journal, shows what JAA expects to see over the next 20 years. The data is being reviewed by the FAA and JAA and is subject to change.
Major growth in passengers, air cargo
About 3.2 million passengers flew from JIA last year. By 2038, that number is expected to grow 60 percent to 5.2 million.
JAA expects the airport to have 34 percent more flights per year in 2038, each with an average capacity of 134 seats, a 16 percent increase in the airport's average seats per departure. That would give the airport the ability to carry 56 percent more passengers than it can handle today. Planes are also forecasted to leave more fully occupied than they do today.
At the Holland & Knight event, VanLoh espoused the virtue of JIA's diversity in carriers, saying that the competition amongst airlines keeps fares low. He does not expect Jacksonville to become a hub for any airline over the next 20 years.
None of JIA's nine carriers currently has even 30 percent market share.
JAA further expects a 29 percent increase in air cargo via a 26 percent increase in air cargo flights on larger planes.
Direct to the West Coast
VanLoh frequently lists getting a nonstop flight to the West Coast as a top priority. The airport is in talks to add service to Phoenix, which is a hub for a slew of West Coast routes, and Seattle, VanLoh told the Jax Chamber Transportation and Logistics Council last month.
"We want to fly to the West Coast, and we don't want to have to stop in Atlanta," said VanLoh.
Looking at JAA's masterplan data, it's easy to see why the West Coast is so coveted. Out of JIA's 20 best markets, defined by two-way traffic counts, only three lack nonstop service from Jacksonville: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Of the more than 40 nonstop routes from Jacksonville, the five busiest are:
•New York City – 827 daily passengers
•Washington, D.C. – 645 daily passengers
•Boston – 390 daily passengers
•Atlanta – 336 daily passengers
•Chicago – 334 daily passengers