Less drilling means less airplanes. As depressed natural gas prices have slowed down the pace of drilling operations, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport has seen fewer flights.
July 20–PITTSTON TWP. — Fewer passengers boarded flights in June at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport compared to the same month a year ago.
Enplanements, the number of passengers boarding flights, dropped 8.2 percent, from 21,485 in June 2011 to 19,733 in June 2012, said airport director Barry Centini.
American Airlines’ decision to discontinue their service with the airport in November played a part in the drop, Mr. Centini said. But so did a slowdown in natural gas drilling locally, he said.
“Last year, the parking lots were packed with cars with license plates from Texas and Oklahoma,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot less of those.”
The airport has attributed increases in traffic over the last several years to the number of companies joining the Marcellus Shale drilling boom. To compensate for the increase in demand, the airport worked with airlines to increase the size of some airplanes and added more public parking spaces, including 143 spaces in Public Parking Lot B, for which there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.