As recently as 1984, Metro still had a relatively inactive airport with service on a per capita basis far below that of many other cities in the United States. In 1984, Republic Airlines decided to make Metro its major hub. In 1984, Republic alone boarded 1.6 million passengers. By 1987, the merged Republic and Northwest Orient Airlines boarded 5.6 million passengers – a 350% increase in just four years – and the airport handled a total of nearly 9 million passengers. In 1988, nearly 11 million passengers will use Metro. This large increase in passenger explains the huge increase in aircraft operations at Metro.

TABLE 2

AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS AT METRO
1975-87

Year

Airline

Commuter Airline

General Aviation

Military

Total Operations

1975

160,911

13,192

60,911

121

235,135

1976

159,691

14,604

72,819

206

247,320

1977

166,638

17,129

78,006

152

261,916

1978

167,280

19,730

80,515

337

267,862

1979

191,815

18,129

73,435

169

283,548

1980

180,898

21,193

65,978

211

268,280

1981

158,694

40,202

61,911

205

261,012

1982

149,008

44,064

55,782

274

249,128

1983

169,008

51,990

60,967

277

282,242

1984

195,157

65,364

65,373

376

326,270

1985

242,835

69,102

68,082

299

380,318

1986

267,375

75,366

62,874

320

405,935

1987

267,067

77,563

66,663

335

411,628

Source: Table 10 of Prospectus for sale of Airport Revenue Bonds. Published by Wayne County in 1986, p. B-48.


Between 1975 and 1987, combined airline and commuter airline operations doubted. This increase has far exceeded the physical growth of the airport itself, which has seen relatively little capital expansion since 1974. And, it is likely that airline operations expansion will continue due to growth in the population and general economy of the Airport Service Region [8] and from increased hubbing activity at the airport. [9]