SRQ aiport considers new ad campaign following flat year

MANATEE -- Board members with the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority will consider a new marketing campaign for the airport Monday to boost a flat year for air service.

Communications firm Patterson/Bach will show off a new marketing campaign for Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The firm hired last fall is the first new firm handling airport marketing in nearly a decade.

It will be key for the airport to capture more customers coming off a flat year in passenger traffic. Year-end numbers released this week show 1.19 million passengers passed through SRQ in 2014, a 0.8-percent increase over 2013's 1.18 million.

If not for weather-related cancellations from the Northeast and Mideast in February and December the airport would have posted better numbers.

More flights coming this year could bolster passenger counts. Nonstop Saturday flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport through Delta will start Feb. 14 and two days earlier, United starts its service to Newark Liberty International Airport -- both services are seasonal.

New year-round service by Air Canada will bolster passenger traffic -- expanded service to Toronto will start May 2.

In other action, the authority will be asked to approve clarifying language for airline incentives. A line is set to be added to allow existing international carriers at the airport to qualify for incentives if adding year-round service. Air Canada's Toronto service would qualify for this incentive.

The authority will meet at 1 p.m. Monday in the Dan P. McClure Auditorium, 6000 Airport Circle, Sarasota.