Idaho Falls Regional Airport officials expect new updates to the facility have helped staff prepare for more holiday traffic. The airport has already surpassed the amount of travelers it saw in 2021 and the number continues to rise.

Holiday travel is expected to increase nearly 15% nationwide, compared to the same period in 2021, with over 7.2 million more Americans expected to catch a flight over the holidays, up to 113 million travelers, according to AAA.

“So, if you’re one of the nearly 113 million Americans who will travel more than 50 miles to gather with friends and family this year, you’re going to want to plan ahead,” the FOX Weather website said. “This year, the weather is having a significant impact on your travel.”

Idaho Falls Regional Airport is seeing this influx in real time as air travel demand has increased dramatically compared to its record-setting holiday travel numbers from 2021.

The airport has far eclipsed its annual record for airport travelers as more than 520,000 people have made their way through security so far this year. That’s more than 70,000 higher than its previous record set just last year.

Airport officials expect 2022 passenger totals to rise more than 20% compared to last year, following holiday travel, with more than 15,000 travelers coming in and out of the airport for holiday related travel.

“We won’t know exact numbers until after the new year but we have never seen the airport as busy as this,” Airport Director Rick Cloutier said.

Idaho Falls airport staff have worked hard to prepare for the influx of flyers. Earlier this year, the airport built an additional Transportation Security Administration screening area, adding security lines and helping people get to their gate faster, improved parking accommodations and built additional lots. Next up, airport officials plan to make parking payment cashless by Jan. 1.

“While we are ready for and excited for the large number of passengers, it is important to note that there are factors that are outside of our control at this time of year,” Cloutier said. “Projected weather conditions are set to affect holiday travel in many areas and we ask that people keep this in mind and stay updated through your airline.”