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Key West Airport Numbers Are Flying High And a Fix For Crowding Is En Route — ETA: Three Years

a rendering showing a new concourse at Key West Airport
Monroe County
The Key West Airport's previous record number of passengers, set in 2019, has already been surpassed this year.

The Key West International Airport has already set an annual record, Monroe County Airport Director Richard Strickland told the Monroe County Commission Wednesday.

"Six days ago your airport, for the first time ever, went past a million passengers. And we're not even at the end of the year yet," Strickland said.

He predicted the airport could see as many as 1.5 million people get on or off planes this year.

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The previous record was in 2019, when the airport saw 969,069 passengers. So far, 2021 is at 49% over 2019's pace.

That's good news for the local tourism industry and means fewer people driving along U.S. 1. But it's also led to what Strickland called "horrible" conditions at the departure area, long lines for security and long waits at baggage claim.

The county is starting an $80 million expansion to build a new concourse at the airport. It will have larger departure and arrival areas, more bathrooms and, for the first time in Key West, jetways to get on and off of planes.

The Concourse A project is "your solution to all of the problems that we currently have there and we're all going to get there together," Strickland said.

The new concourse is scheduled to open in late 2024.

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Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.
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