For only the third time in the history of the Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport (MFR), over 1 million passenger passed through its gates.
In 2018, MFR went over 1 million annual passengers for the first time ever. The next year, passenger numbers jumped another 7.6% to hit the current all-time record of 1,087,873 yearly fliers.
Then in 2020, COVID hit and the entire airline travel industry was decimated. MFR saw a 53% drop in passengers; a mere 510,000 individuals used the airport that year. In 2021, passengers numbers climbed a bit and the airport logged 886,670 travelers.
As the airline industry continues to find its footing in the post-COVID travel era, MFR is seeing new growth and passenger totals. 1,031,693 passengers passed through the regional airports gates in 2022, that’s a year-over-year increase of over 16%.
Even with the loss of aha! Airlines in 2022, Medford is seeing more travelers. aha! Airlines traveled to Reno from MFR, the company ceased all operations after declaring bankruptcy. One contributing factor at MFR’s growth is the size of the aircraft being used. United now uses larger Boeing 737’s on several daily routes. Allegiant Air primary uses Airbus A320 and A319 aircraft on their numerous routes. Alaska Air, has mostly phased out their Q400 turboprops in favor of the Embraer E175 jets.
With United Airlines temporarily ending their Los Angeles flights to focus on their San Francisco hub, passenger totals still jumped double digits. Allegiant Air plans to restart their LAX direct route in May. They currently already fly to nearby Southern California Airport, John Wayne, in Santa Ana.
The future is looking bright for the Airport as some stalled projects take flight. Currently, the administration is looking to the future by commissioning a study on possible terminal and gate expansion. A four-floor H2 Suites by Hilton, is also expected to break ground soon near the Biddle and Lawnsdale side of the MFR property. This project will add approximately 122 rooms around the MFR area and is expected to be around 73,000 sqft.
The airports location has also been a key driver in its growth. Many passengers from Northern California, the Pacific coast, and eastern Oregon also drive into Medford for the air services. While it typically doesn’t make much financial sense for Valley residents to drive to Portland or Sacramento to fly from their larger airports.
As MFR continues to plan for their future growth, Medford Alert will monitor and provide updates as they become available.