Passengers board an Embraer 175, left, operated by American Airlines/Envoy Air and bound for Miami, as other passengers walk along the Concourse A construction perimeter on Feb. 13. CONTRIBUTED

Key West International Airport kicked off 2024 with a nearly 16% increase in passenger numbers over January 2023, outpacing every January passenger count on record at the airport. Numbers show 20,217 more passengers used the airport over the same month in 2023, bringing the total for the month to 147,175 combined enplanements/deplanements.

“This is exactly what we want to see, and these numbers continue to prove the popularity of our airport for locals and visitors alike,” said Richard Strickland, the county’s executive director of airports. 

At a recent meeting of the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, Strickland said the airport will see airline seat capacity increase 20.8% in the first quarter of the year. Airlines have scheduled an average of 33 flights per day​ with American Airlines accounting for the majority of seat growth.

While American is operating a second daily mainline A319 aircraft to Dallas/Fort Worth and a second daily flight to Washington’s Reagan airport on the 76-seat Embraer 175, it has also added a fifth daily flight to Charlotte on the 76-seat EMB-175. 

United is operating mainline 737-700 aircraft in Key West for the first time to Newark, Washington, Chicago and Houston. Delta will operate new New York LaGuardia service on the 76-seat EMB-175​. JetBlue has begun operating the larger mainline A220 to Boston.​ Silver is also operating additional Orlando and Tampa flights. 

Passengers, right, step off an Airbus A319 operated by American Airlines from Charlotte to Key West on Feb. 13. CONTRIBUTED