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Now arriving: Phoenix Sky Harbor served record 44 million travelers in 2015

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is shown. (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Photo)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport had a record year in 2015, an airport official said Monday.

Julie Rodriguez with the airport said more than 44 million people passed through Sky Harbor last year, toppling a record that stood for nearly a decade.

“The previous record at Sky Harbor for annual passengers was set in 2007 — pre-recession,” she said. “Sky Harbor served nearly 42.2 million passengers (that year).”

Overall, passenger traffic at the airport in 2015 was up about 4.5 percent over the previous year.

“When Sky Harbor is busy that means our economy is busy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in a press release. “The airport is our largest economic engine and attracts nearly $29 billion a year, so this is excellent news for Phoenix.”

Last year started out with a bang for Sky Harbor, as both Super Bowl crowds and golf fans heading for the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open began swarming to the state just weeks after the traditional holiday rush.

Feb. 2, the day after the big game and the golf tournament, was the airport’s busiest day ever. About 180,000 passengers are estimated to have passed through the gates.

Things stayed busy for the next month at Sky Harbor. A record 4.2 million people passed through the airport during the month of March, most of them likely headed to spring training games or looking to beat cold weather.

The year was capped by a busy holiday travel season thanks to lower air fares and an overall uptick in the economy, meaning more people could afford to fly.

KTAR’s Lauren Grifo was contributed to this report.

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