Detroit Metropolitan Airport Closes the Books on 2017 with Another Increase in Passengers

Travel by residents and visitors to region reach record high

News Releases
Feb 08

DETROIT (Feb. 8, 2018) – Passenger traffic at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) grew to 34,701,497 in 2017 compared to 2016, an increase of more than 300,000 travelers, according to data released by the airport’s Department of Financial Planning & Analysis. The nearly 1 percent year-over-year increase can be attributed in part to new domestic and international air service.

In 2017, Delta Air Lines made it easier to reach the Upper Peninsula by adding flights to Iron Mountain, Michigan. Southwest resumed its weekend service to Orlando as well. Airlines also added five new West Coast routes from Detroit. Delta began service to Orange County, California. Alaska Airlines added nonstop flights to Portland, Oregon. Spirit began flying to Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California. Also, United added flights to San Francisco. Previously, San Francisco was DTW’s only top 20 market with just one carrier providing direct flights.

Last year, the number of passengers traveling internationally jumped 4.6 percent compared to 2016. Factors contributing to the increase include Lufthansa upgrading to the 747-400, a larger aircraft that will be used during the summer, and Aeromexico beginning service to Mexico City and Monterrey.

“Our customers primarily fall into three categories: Michigan and Northwest Ohio residents, visitors to our region and travelers connecting through Detroit Metropolitan Airport,” said Wayne County Airport Authority Interim CEO Genelle M. Allen. “Not only are more of our customers traveling internationally, but also, we’re seeing an increase in the number of residents and visitors who are traveling. This is indicative of Detroit’s stronger economy, lower airfares and DTW offering more choices to travelers.”

“Resident and visitor traffic, also known as origin and destination—or ‘O & D’—traffic, hit another record high in 2017,” said Airport Authority Director of Air Service Development Joe Cambron. “When we receive the final December O & D data, we expect to be up 11 percent or more for the year.”

This year, there will be even more reasons to fly from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. In March, Southwest Airlines will begin flights to Tampa. The following month, Frontier will offer new service to Long Island, New York and Austin, Texas; Spirit will add flights to San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon. Also in April, low-cost airline WOW will begin operating at DTW, offering flights to Reykjavik, Iceland and connections to various European cities. WOW is the first new international carrier in DTW’s North Terminal since it opened nearly a decade ago.

Visit the Aviation Statistics Page for more detailed statistical information.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) welcomed nearly 35 million passengers in 2017 and is one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs. With service from 13 scheduled passenger airlines, Michigan’s largest airport offers more than 1,100 flights per day to and from more than 140 non-stop destinations on four continents. With two award-winning passenger terminals, six jet runways, and an onsite AAA Four-Diamond Westin Hotel, DTW is among the world’s most efficient, customer friendly and operationally capable airports in North America. DTW is operated by the Wayne County Airport Authority, which also operates nearby Willow Run Airport – an important corporate, cargo and general aviation facility. The Airport Authority is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive tax dollars to support airport operations. Visit for more information.

Erica Donerson
Vice President, Communications and External Affairs
Wayne County Airport Authority
Lisa Gass
Media Relations Manager
Wayne County Airport Authority