Will Rogers World Airport started 2013 with an uptick in departures, while Tulsa International Airport experienced a decline.
Outbound passengers at Oklahoma City's largest airport increased 2.68 percent in January, compared to the same month last year. In Tulsa, departing traffic dipped 3.62 percent.
Karen Carney, a spokeswoman for Will Rogers World Airport, said even though January isn't traditionally a busy travel month, traffic was up during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, and business travel increased throughout the month.
United Airlines in particular experienced a busy month, with 4,600 more departing travelers than in January of last year — an increase of nearly 20 percent. The Chicago-based airline has increased its presence at the Oklahoma City airport, with a new nonstop to Cleveland kicking off Feb. 14 and the addition of a San Francisco route in February 2012.
“I think it's partially Oklahoma City, but I also think it's their strategy network-wide,” Carney said.
Outbound traffic from Tulsa International Airport was likely hurt by a lack of business travelers and bowl game traffic in January, said Alexis Higgins, a spokeswoman for the airport.
“We're hoping to see an improvement in February,” she said, noting the increase in traffic for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament, which is going on this week.
Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport
There were 3,386 outbound passengers at Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport in January, a decrease of 8.7 percent compared to the same month in 2012.