McAllen Reports Record-Setting Travelers through Airport

Feb. 8, 2022

Feb. 8—The McAllen International Airport reported a record number of passengers in 2021, seeing even more people traveling through the airport than even before the pandemic.

An airport worker handles a cart at the McAllen Miller International airport on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in McAllen. ( Joel Martinez — [email protected])

In 2021, the McAllen airport had a total of 449,151 enplanements, which is the number of people that flew out of the airport, and a total of 398,236 deplanements, which is the number of people that flew into the airport.

The COVID-19 pandemic drove down travel worldwide and that was true in the Rio Grande Valley, as well, where travel through the airport plunged in 2020.

Through all of 2020, there were only 194,872 enplanements and 193,937 deplanements.

"What we observed in this industry is that people were probably more hesitant at the beginning of the pandemic," said Daniella Plata, the international business manager at the McAllen International Airport.

"The first reports of this pandemic in the region obviously affected traveling and it was nationwide, the industry was impacted by it," she said. "But I'd say by summer and as of now, we saw this increase in traveling."

The month with the highest number of passengers was July 2021 with a total of 56,772 enplanements and 47,627 deplanements.

Those numbers were even better than they were before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 47,112 enplanements and 42,179 deplanements in July 2019.

Through all of 2019, there were a total of 432,178 enplanements and 400,066 deplanements, which means that in 2021 there was a nearly 4% increase in enplanements but a .46% decrease in deplanements.

With the number of passengers back up, overall, Plata said the airport was doing well and noted they had captured 51% of the market-share.

Neighboring Valley International Airport in Harlingen and the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport had captured 36% and 13% of the market-share, respectively, according to a 2021 activity report.

Luggage in rolled into the McAllen Miller International airport on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in McAllen. ( Joel Martinez — [email protected])

"We have two more airports close to us so this is a huge accomplishment, to continue capturing the majority of the market," Plata said.

The city credited the increase in passengers to new services launched last year including three nonstop flights to Nashville, Monterrey and Guadalajara. They also launched extended service to Puerto Vallarta, Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosí.

"MFE is committed to lead the Rio Grande Valley in first class amenities, comfort and everything you need for travel," McAllen City Manager Roel "Roy" Rodriguez said in a news release. "Our record-setting performance is a testament to the City of McAllen's commitment to going above and beyond to provide strong domestic and international connectivity."

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