Palm Springs International Airport set its third monthly passenger record for the year, making 2021 its busiest summer on record, officials announced Wednesday.
The airport saw a total of 117,952 passengers in August, beating the previous August record of 97,941 passengers set in 2019 by 20.4%, according to airport officials. This August’s numbers also beat August 2020 by 223%.
The August numbers bring the airport’s overall passenger count for June through August to 191,547. The previous summer record was set in 2019 when the airport saw 153,361 total passengers.
This comes as a surprise to airport officials, who had forecasted passenger numbers to average around 50% of 2019’s figures and expected to not return to pre-COVID numbers until early 2023.
“This summer has provided an unexpected boost to the airport,” said Harry Barrett, assistant executive director of aviation at PSP. “These record passenger numbers have come along with more flights and nonstop routes which has helped us sustain and will ultimately help us recover from the pandemic more quickly than we had anticipated.”
The unexpected numbers are due in part to the 20% increase in available flights from PSP in 2021. The airport had 180,886 departing seats for passengers in 2019, compared to the 255,739 seats available this year.
PSP’s overall 2021 numbers still lag behind 2019’s by approximately 34%.