Easy As PIE: St. Pete-Clearwater Airport’s Record-Breaking December

Pete Clearwater has broken monthly passenger records on three occasions in the past year, including December, thanks to the addition of two new airlines, several additional routes, and capacity growth on existing services. This Christmas, it celebrated 15 years of Allegiant service, with the ultra-low-cost carrier responsible for 97% of the airport’s capacity.

The Allegiant celebrated its 15th anniversary at St. Pete Clearwater in December 2021. It first served the airport in December 2006 and has 12 routes. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple flight.

easy as pie

Located about 17 miles (27 km) from central Tampa and in a good location for the Tampa Bay area, St. Pete Clearwater International Airport (IATA code: PIE) set a record in December. It welcomed more than 200,000 passengers, the busiest month of celebration ever, an increase of 2% over the month of December 2019 that prevailed before the outbreak of the pandemic.

According to the airport’s passenger statistics, it also set a record passenger volume in June 2021 (4.6% higher than 2019) and July (+7.0%). And November was just 91 passengers away from a record. As a reminder of the pandemic, St. Pete Clearwater welcomed just over 2 million passengers last year, 11% less than in 2019.

Since it’s so unusual for an airport to break records in the current environment, it’s great to see this monthly performance. Outdoor leisure destinations have seen an increase in the demand for entertainment, and Florida is no exception.

Monthly passenger traffic at St Pete Clearwater in 2021
The months highlighted all had the highest passenger numbers ever. Data source: St Pete Clearwater International Airport.

stay informedSign up for our weekly New Roads newsletter.

Two new airlines in 2021

Think Saint Pete Clearwater, think you’re Eligan. According to Cirium data, the ultra-low-cost airline took 97% of the airport’s seats in December, which is a reminder of how dominant it is there. Significantly, Swoop and Sun Country started service, increasing the airport’s portfolio and roadmap.

In early November, Canadian Swoop launched the Toronto Pearson, marking the first international trip to St. Pete Clearwater since 2020. A few weeks later, Hamilton kicked off. Until March, there will be five weekly flights to Canada – the highest number ever.

Sun Country also started in November. She added the 1,307-mile (2,103-kilometre) link from her home airport of Minneapolis; It is operated on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays with the B737-800 and B737-700. Sun Country now serves ten airports across Florida, including Tampa itself. (In 2014, the carrier briefly served St. Pete Clearwater from Gulfport-Biloxi.)

Swop St. Pete Cake
I love new road celebrations and cake (or pie). The Toronto Open received a traditional aquatic salute as the aircraft approached its platform. Inside, guests received a cake from a local baker. The cake featured sweeping views of St Pete Clearwater and many Canadian icons. Photo: St Pete Clearwater International Airport.

Multiple modes added, more to come

As shown below, I started (or restarted) about a dozen trails last year, including the long link to Provo, Utah, with Allegiant. At 1,857 miles (2,989 km), it is the longest comfortable route from St. Pete-Clearwater. Running on Wednesdays and Saturdays, it has a block time of five hours to Utah – the third longest route on the ULCC network by duration.

  • Elegant: Fargo (served 2013-2017), Northwest Arkansas, Key West, Little Rock, Portsmouth (2016-2017), Provo, Wichita
  • Country of the Sun: Minneapolis
  • Pounce: Toronto Pearson, Hamilton
St Pete Clearwater and Elegant
Allegiant will launch two more routes from the airport. Photo: St Pete Clearwater International Airport.

Cirium data shows that several existing routes have seen an increase in capacity, notably Tulsa (+98% more seats for sale in 2021 than 2019), Tri-Cities (+65%), Hagerstown (+55%), Dayton (+39 %), Nashville (+29%), Cincinnati (+26%), Flint (+23%). Allegiant is looking to launch Akron-Canton on March 4, followed by Clarksburg, West Virginia, on March 11.

Did you travel to and from the airport? Share your experiences in the comments.

Leave a Comment