The battle between JetBlue and Delta for supremacy at Logan is not only increasing the number of new routes out of the airport at a rapid clip, it also means Logan is quickly on track to becoming one of the 10 busiest airports in the United States by 2022.
A new study from OAG, a provider of travel data, found that while airports in the United States are growing at an average of 3 percent a year, Logan’s passenger rate growth is nearly 5 percent a year. That translates to millions more travelers flying out of Logan.
“For two established carriers to be looking for rapid development at any airport is rare,” said John Grant, the author of the study. “It reflects their confidence in the future opportunity at the airport.”
Delta plans to add 60 daily new flights out of Boston by 2021. That increase will result in an additional 10,500 passengers a day. JetBlue is adding 40 new flights a day, with an additional 5,100 passengers a day. It is slated to begin flights from Boston to London in 2021. Combined, the two airlines will add around 5.7 million seats a year.
Grant said Boston currently ranks as the 15th busiest airport in the United States, up from 17th busiest in 2015.
“With such growth, a move into the top 10 airports in the United States is a realistic ambition by 2022,” he said. “The ultimate winner will inevitably be the traveler; increased choice, rapid capacity growth, and probably lower fares while demand accelerates to meet the capacity.”
Fares may improve, but for weary travelers who already fear congestion at Logan, a large increase in passenger counts may not sound particularly appealing. Massport is currently in the midst of improvements to deal with congestion issues. Dubbed “Logan Forward,” the projects involve redesigns of the airport’s roadways and terminals to make Logan easier and more efficient to navigate.
Traffic lanes will be widened and curbsides expanded. An additional 5,000 parking places will be added. Terminals B and C are being connected.
The airport is also pushing for more passengers to take public transportation and will move app ride passenger drop-offs — think Uber and Lyft — to a centralized location, which Massport believes will help ease congestion.
Meanwhile, Terminal E will expand by 400,000 square feet with additional (and much needed) dining options and seven new gates.
Passenger growth at Logan has been steady for the past decade. The airport had its busiest year ever in 2018, handling more than 40 million passengers for the first time in its history. Massport officials anticipate up to 47.6 million passengers a year at Logan by 2024.