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La Crosse Airport sees lowest monthly passenger numbers since pandemic



At the end of a year, when Delta Airlines ended passenger service to La Crosse, the city’s airport finds itself well short of last year’s rider totals for scheduled flights.

Numbers from the La Crosse Regional Airport show passenger levels down 20 percent from 2022 — with monthly drops of 40 to 50 percent being seen late in the year.

The 2,586 passengers reported in October is the lowest monthly count since the 2020 COVID pandemic. At the start of COVID, in April of 2020, LSE saw only 372 passengers on commercial flights that month.

The last Delta flight out of La Crosse prepares to take off on June 4th, 2023 (file photo)

The best month for air travel in La Crosse this year was March, when 4,911 people took scheduled flights through the airport. Yet, that was down 20 percent from the 6,205 reported in the same month last year. 

It’s also the lowest monthly figure since the summer of 2020. 

The yearly passenger total for 2023 is likely to be just above 40,000, compared to 63,239 riders a year ago. 

Labor shortages and reductions in the local flight schedule because of the departure of Delta service this summer, have contributed to lower passenger levels. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. Elliott B

    December 13, 2023 at 7:57 am

    In my instance, I see high airfares as a reason in choosing to drive to MSP or even ORD is more cost effective.

  2. Roy

    December 13, 2023 at 9:33 am

    I think a good City Council and County Board would realize that the La Crosse Airport’s stature has diminished of late. Flights to hubs and connecting cities are now limited for business and leisure. This, combined with a less-competitive retail selection and a strangled commuter traffic experience, limited new housing, both multifamily and single family available in the City of La Crosse all cause a stagnant city population of around 50 thousand. Meanwhile, both Rochester and Eau Claire nearby, which were once the same size as La Crosse, are growing leaps and bounds and have passed La Crosse as retail and business centers, Eau Claire having the home office of a billion dollar company.
    Few on either governing body see the big picture with many members lacking any business experience. They spend time on “equity” structuring, bike paths being painted on main streets. and welfare-type funding for the needy. Just a few years ago the Tribune’s “Citizen of the Year” was the County Nurse, as nominated by the County Chair. The nurse, if you remember, was issuing weekly reports on where Covid patients had done their recent shopping, alas for you if you also shopped there, was the implication. Sorry, “Citizens of the Year” should be individuals whose leadership caused Greater La Crosse to move forward by leading Big Things.
    Instead of Senator Pfaff spending time getting photo-ops with the Governor’s every appearance, Pfaff might try exerting any influence he has to get better airline service back to La Crosse. Take Steve Doyle, who has been around forever, with him. The Mayor is busy saving the Earth In Dubai, listening to rousing speeches by John Kerry.

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