More than 8,000 passengers boarded aircraft in May, an improvement over May 2018, Casper/Natrona County International Airport Manager Glenn Januska said Thursday.

Januska said the 8,282 enplanements marked a 15.2% increase over the year before, and the total year-to-date emplanements is up 5.5% from 2018, too.

In the past two years, the airport lost the service from Allegiant Air, which offered direct flights to Las Vegas, and that meant a loss of about 1,200-1,500 passengers a month.

But Januska said the new numbers indicate show Delta and United airlines have picked up the slack in passenger service.

"The business and leisure passengers here not only made up for the loss of Allegiant, but it was a time period when we saw a little bit stronger passenger demand based upon the economy," he said.

While the airport can track enplanements, it doesn't have a way to determine through surveys why passengers make the decisions they do, Januska said.

Whether the increased business will result in a change in ticket prices remains to be seen.

In a somewhat related matter, Januska said the airport probably will begin replacing half of the parking lot and installing better lighting this summer.

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