MEDFORD, Ore. — It was another busy year at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, the busiest that it has ever seen after a string of record years.
More than one million passengers passed through the airport in 2019, an increase of nearly eight percent from 2018, according to the Jackson County Airport Authority.
"This makes six years of record-breaking traffic in a row," MFR said in a statement.
The Airport Authority credits much of that traffic to the local wine and tourism industries and the economic growth that has come along with them. The airport sees almost 11,000 visitors come through every day.
"We are very delighted to see the end year numbers at the levels they are, across the board," said airport director Jerry Brienza. "Our passenger numbers are growing, our general aviation community is growing, and our aircraft traffic is growing. We have every reason to believe that this upward trend will continue in 2020.”
MFR has seen a 72 percent increase in passenger traffic since 2013 — setting passenger records for 34 months in a row and 58 out of the last 60 months.
With that amount of growth, "expansion" is now the watchword. MFR plans to add a third screening lane at the TSA checkpoint and a second passenger loading bridge. The former will start this month, while construction on the latter is slated to begin in April. Officials expect that the bridge will be completed in the middle of June.
Above and beyond these modifications, the Airport Authority said that it has a "master plan" under development.
"Once completed, the Plan will most likely include recommendations for terminal expansion, including the passenger gate area and construction of a second baggage claim carousel," MFR said.
Mead & Hunt, a firm consulting on the master plan, reportedly expects passenger traffic to reach 1.5 million by 2030, and more than 2 million by 2040.