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The first Skywest Airlines/United Express arrival at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport taxis through a cascade of water from the airport’s fire engines during a ceremony in April 2018.

WEYERS CAVE — Since partnering with SkyWest Airlines, Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport continues to increase in passenger traffic, with Executive Director Greg Campbell telling airport commission members Wednesday that the airport could see more employees.

Campbell said flight tracking has been “very well,” with the airport expected to be ahead of revenue for the year.

With the addition of new flights to be offered seven days a week in December, Campbell said SkyWest has hired more employees, and a change in airport staff is a possibility.

In the first nine months of this year, traffic increased by 67%, jumping from 12,536 passengers in 2018 to 20,919 in 2019.

“We are tracking an average of 2,500 to 3,000 passengers,” Campbell said. He added that this month, the airport saw a rise in flights coming in to SVRA due to parents weekend at James Madison University.

At the one-year mark since SkyWest began its service, the amount of passengers using the airport increased from 302 in March 2018 to 2,348 passengers in April 2019.

Leading in to the summer season, passenger traffic continued to rise but not as significantly.

“Things continue to grow,” Campbell said. “We are up 20 to 30% this summer season, and that trend continues. In September, we were up by 38%.”

Campbell said October is the airport’s strongest month, showing promise that the increase in passengers will continue before heading into the winter decline.

To meet passenger demand, SVRA recently announced new flights to Washington-Dulles International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport starting Dec. 4.

The new one-hour direct flight route from Weyers Cave to Dulles is slated to depart the Valley at 8:20 p.m., and the return flight departs from Dulles at 10:20 p.m.

The departure flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International is slated to move almost four hours earlier from 1:55 p.m. to 9:42 a.m. The return flight from O’Hare back to the Valley is also scheduled to depart later, from 3:35 p.m. to 5:05 p.m.

“This will allow folks to get a full day here,” Campbell said. “[The new flight schedule] is a challenge for us, but one that should go well.”

The new flight schedule opens 900 additional seats per week.

Contact Jessica Wetzler at 574-6279 or jwetzler@dnronline.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @wetzler_jessica

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