MILWAUKEE — Passenger travel through Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels.
There were a little over 6 million passengers at the airport in 2023, according to a report released Wednesday. It’s the first time numbers have been that high since the pandemic and about a 10% increase from 2022.
“In 2023, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport delivered results and continued to improve its world-class customer experience with the addition of new air service and concession offerings,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley in a statement. “With more people flying in 2023, the team at MKE made it easy for our community to achieve their travel dreams right here in Milwaukee County.”
Still, numbers are not quite back to where they were before the pandemic.
From 2013 to 2019, the average amount of passengers per year was closer to 6.7 million. The record number was close to 10 million in 2010.
Officials said new employee travel requirements, concessions and the addition of some new nonstop routes are just some initiatives that may have had a hand in increasing numbers.
Some new nonstop featured routes in 2023 included to Salt Lake City through Delta Air Lines, to Kansas City on Southwest and to Washington D.C. through American Airlines.
Milwaukee Mitchell also welcomed a new concession option, Concordia Market, which gave travelers Milwaukee-based brands to choose from.
To spur more travel in the airport, Crowley also introduced a new policy that required Milwaukee County employees to begin and end their travel through the airport when on business.
Officials said they expect numbers to continue increasing in 2024 as Milwaukee gears up for the Republican National Convention in July and other major events such as the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival.