Prior to the COVID global pandemic, Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) was one of the fastest growing large airports in the country. Between September 2018 and August 2019, the airport handled 7,067,882 passengers – a 16 percent increase from the previous year. During this time the airport was also ranked among the best travel hubs in North America for customer service by the Airports Council International. This helped foster the region’s growth and led to more businesses looking to Jacksonville as a destination.
Although travel numbers are still slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels, JAX has continued to see growth in service options. Within the last eight months, airlines operating at JAX have announced new nonstop service to Austin, Greenville-Spartanburg, Los Angeles, New Orleans and San Juan in addition to expanded service to several existing markets. JAX now serves 31 markets and more than 40 airports (and growing!). This connectivity ensures that business and leisure travelers can get to virtually any major market quickly and easily, setting the table for long-term expansion in the region.
As a result of growth at the airport, JAX is reigniting its plan to expand Concourse B. Estimated to cost around $250 million, it will add increased gate capacity as well as provide general improvements that will position the airport for continued growth. The need is recovering quickly – passenger data shows more than 256,000 people boarded a plane at JAX in June 2021, up 225 percent from June 2020.
Passenger traffic, a key draw for business and leisure travel, is just one portion of the growth at JAX. Air cargo plays an integral role in the airport’s contributions. The Jacksonville region is a key logistics hub for all types of freight, and air service is imperative given the increased demand for next day delivery and just in time inventory. Air cargo to and from Jacksonville moves directly to nine markets across the United States and Puerto Rico, complementing the region’s strength in transportation and logistics.
The airport itself is a major economic engine for the City of Jacksonville and the region. As of 2016, the estimated economic impact of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority‘s assets is $3.2 billion and represents direct impacts and spending from the Authority’s four airports – JAX, Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport, Herlong Recreational Airport and Cecil Airport. As travel and business operations return from the challenges presented by the pandemic, the significance of the airport’s viability will only continue to grow.
Relocation and expansion efforts in the Jacksonville region will only create more demand for air service to even more destinations and JAX is committed to helping our businesses get to where they need to go.