By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
After a late push to get to 10,000 passengers for 2012, it's back to business as usual at Quincy Regional Airport.
And officials believe business will be busier than usual.
"Advance bookings are up in January over 30 percent, which is phenomenal," Stacey Putnam Ross, Cape Air's Midwest marketing manager, said.
In the airport's push to reach 10,000 boardings to qualify for a $1 million federal grant, Cape Air was running as many as nine flights per weekday and six flights per day on weekends during December. The airport reached its goal of 10,000 passengers Saturday morning.
Airport Manager Jeff Steinkamp said the airport served 10,120 passengers in 2012. That's the third straight year of increased boardings at the Quincy airport since Cape Air started providing flights between Quincy and St. Louis in November 2009. The Hyannis, Mass.-based airline had 9,248 passengers in Quincy in 2011 and 7,027 in 2010.
"We added more flights than we thought we would (in December)," Steinkamp said. "(Cape Air) really did ramp it up and that helped get us over the hump, no doubt."
Neither Ross nor Steinkamp envisions Quincy having much of a problem qualifying for another $1 million federal grant in 2013.
"We expect to see a drop (of passengers) in January, but (Cape Air) thinks they are up 30 percent from last year," Steinkamp said. "We'll do just fine. We won't be in a rush to finish this year."
Cape Air will return to providing six flights on weekdays and three on weekends, Ross said.
"It should be business as usual from this point on," Ross said. "We won't be looking at the same crunch in 2013. With the new schedule spread out over a year, our numbers will be great this year."
Steinkamp said the airport has a number of things it would like to do with the money it will receive from the federal grant. He did not know when the federal money would arrive.
"The flying public is what made this possible," Steinkamp said. "We appreciate all of the hard work done by Cape Air, too."