Last updated: 05:05 PM ET, Fri April 22 2016

Boston Logan Will See Huge Traffic Increase This Year

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | April 22, 2016

Boston Logan Will See Huge Traffic Increase This Year

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Boston Logan Airport is getting busier and busier. If the first three months of the year are any indication of what is to come, Logan could see a record number of passengers by the end of the year. 

Seven-and-a-half million fliers used the New England hub in the first three months of 2016. That puts the airport on track to see about 36 million fliers by the end of the year. International air travel has become more important for the airport. From January through March, Logan logged 1.2 million international passengers. 

A major part of this international uptick came from Middle Eastern carriers. Emirates and Turkish Airlines have daily flights out of Boston, and Qatar Airways will launch service later this month. 

READ MORE: Norwegian Launches Service From Boston

The number of fliers could be even higher as the year progresses. Over the next two months, no fewer than five international airlines will launch service to Logan from Europe. The flights include Air Berlin’s service to Dusseldorf, Norwegian Air to Copenhagen, Thomas Cook to Manchester, Eurowings to Cologne and TAP to Lisbon. 

Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary has received tentative approval to fly from Cork, Ireland to Boston, but no takeoff date has been set. 

This increase in air traffic is good for airlines and for the airport, but it might not be good for passengers. The TSA has been notoriously slow when it comes to handling a lot of traffic at checkpoints. Boston is no exception. Airport officials are telling fliers to arrive at least two hours before their flight so that they have enough time to check in and get through security. 

READ MORE: TSA Pre: The Best $85 You'll Ever Spend on Travel

Getting through security checkpoints at peak times might be a hassle, but other parts of the airport are set for major improvements. In the near future, passengers will have more airside eating and shopping options. The Massachusetts Port Authority, also known as Massport, has sent out a request for proposals for retail and restaurant venues that will be added to the terminal. The hope is to attract a mix of restaurants, shops and convenience stores. Ideally, according to Massport, at least some of the businesses will have local ownership. 

Like Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, Logan is perfectly situated for trans-ocean flights. Planes from hubs in Northwestern Europe (Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia) are closer to Boston than other East Coast hubs. This means saving valuable fuel dollars and thereby cutting operations costs. For low cost carriers, saving a couple hundred miles worth of fuel could be the difference between profit and debt, especially as the transatlantic market gets more and more competitive. 

For now, though, it looks like Boston is on the way to a record year, and there are also indications that the growth could continue in the coming years as well.  

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