Sioux Falls Airport to Exceed One Million Passengers in 2016

The United States is on track to see over 700 million domestic enplanements in 2016. For the first time, over one million of those flyers will end up in Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls Regional Airport executive director Dan Letellier says Joe Foss Field 2016 arrival #1,000,000 should come tramping through the concourse on Thursday morning:

Joe Foss Field welcomes 2016 flyer #1,000,000The Sioux Falls Regional Airport will welcome its one millionth passenger of 2016 during a surprise celebration next week. Members of the media are invited to attend the ceremony at the terminal on the morning of Thursday, December 22. A more precise time will be released in a follow-up advisory next week when the plane carrying the one millionth passenger is determined.

“2016 marks the first year that one million people have travelled through our airport,” Executive Director Dan Letellier said. “Along with the recent changes and terminal updates at the airport, this is a big milestone for FSD.”

FSD’s one million passengers in 2016 include arrivals, departures, and enplanements. The airport saw 980,000 travelers in 2015 and sees an average of 1,750 daily seats and 150 weekly flights [Sioux Falls Regional Airport, press release, 2016.12.16].

No word yet on whether cake will be served.

According to FAA stats, Sioux Falls Regional Airport ranked 120th for emplanements in 2015 with 493,530 (I welcome aviation experts to explain the difference between emplanements, arrivals, and departures so we can make sense of FSD’s million claim). Let’s put that busy-ness in the context of other airports in the region:

Rank Code City 2015 Emplanements Compared to FSD
6 DEN Denver 26,280,043 53.25
16 MSP Minneapolis 17,634,273 35.73
60 OMA Omaha 2,046,179 4.15
120 FSD Sioux Falls 493,530 1.00
127 FAR Fargo 437,188 0.89
165 RAP Rapid City 264,183 0.54
166 BIS Bismarck 262,469 0.53
320 ABR Aberdeen 27,595 0.06
328 SUX Sioux City 26,104 0.05
426 PIR Pierre 6,664 0.01

13 Responses to Sioux Falls Airport to Exceed One Million Passengers in 2016

  1. Porter Lansing

    Possibly, an arrival and a departure are when any plane arrives and leaves Foss with passengers. An emplanement is when an individual passenger boards a plane.

  2. Darin Larson

    I’m assuming, like Porter said, an emplanement is one person getting on a plane. A deplanement is one person getting off a plane.

    The airport is counting passengers which are both coming and going. Thus, if you double the emplanement numbers for 2015 in SF you would be 13,000 short of one million. So, our numbers for 2016 are up slightly from 2015, probably on the order of 2-4% by the end of the year.

  3. When I moved back to South Dakota and landed in Sioux Falls in 2003, air fares out of FSD were quite high. So, I drove to and flew out of Omaha like many other area residents did. I even used Priceline’s Name Your Own Price in an attempt to fly out of Sioux Falls but it could not beat Omaha fares. Then things changed around 2008, more competition and lower fares. I’ve been using FSD ever since and couldn’t be happier. Driving back to SF from Omaha after a flight … sucked.

  4. Don Coyote

    I suppose you could have an enplanement (getting on a plane) without a departure. Mechanical issues with the plane, issues with the crew, security issues, weather, etc could result in a non-departure.

  5. The greeting today at Foss Field with de plane

  6. One remarkable stat based on the data in the table is that the Sioux Falls airport is approximately 20 times as busy as Sioux City.

  7. this would be a good chart for the RC Civic Center expansion plan since music acts compete to perform in surrounding venues.

  8. As Rich says, driving from Omaha to Sioux Falls after a flight is unpleasant… but apparently the drive from Omaha to Sioux City isn’t nearly as bad. The 20x difference between FSD and SUX surprises me, especially given that the population difference between the two cities is only 2x. Perhaps Sioux City doesn’t have the same economic activity driving flights into the city itself?

  9. Mark Francis

    Passenger enplanement would be a very good metric to compare economic activity, but it’s only one of many. None-airline take-offs and landings (think private commercial/corporate aircraft) and cargo activity are also key. Another, private pilot component of general aviation, (recreational and pleasure flying) is a lesser factor, primarily due to cost of aviation fuel. Not included in the enplanement metric, but a major economic impact, would be military flight activity. The Air National Guard’s impact on FSD is huge – both for its operations as well as transient activity it draws for military stopover operations. Civilian flight training, while not a major economic driver in SUX or FSD, is at an airport like Grand Forks where the University of North Dakota has a large flight training program but its airport is struggling with airline and air cargo activity. In terms of air traffic activity, however, it’s one of top fifty airports in the US.

    FSD has really many great strides in its marketing and attracting and keeping airline seats the last ten years. SUX was disadvantaged in attracting airline passengers by its marketing efforts and its location midway between FSD and OMA – both of which are about 90 minutes away.

    Not to be ignored, too, is the major growth of Sioux Falls and Omaha as medical and research centers.

  10. mike from iowa

    SUX is way south of town on I-29. Pastoral scene with life saving cornfields hither and yon.

  11. Mark Francis

    And practically a bedroom community of Omaha…

  12. I am surprised by this fatr do the turnover out there<I sttrted on the bottom and rose very fast.They don't pay that well.Wages about 10 bucks,turnover all the time.There are better jobs but if you want to work for peanuts,I wouldn't

  13. When that sign say thousands of jobs waiting, they mean low paying jobs .