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Roanoke airport traffic increasing; airlines add flights

(Google Earth)

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The number of passengers at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has increased for the seventh straight month, a trend that's prompting airlines to begin increasing service.

The Roanoke Times reports total outbound and inbound passengers reached 50,885 last month. That's an increase of more than 2,200 travelers over March 2016.

The upswing comes after the airport reported declining annual passenger counts between 2012 and 2015.

Brad Boettcher is the airport executive in charge of service expansion efforts. He says the airport has 14 more flights this April than it did a year ago and "everything is going in the right direction."

Still, the airport's executive director says it hasn't returned to pre-recession traffic levels.

Airport officials hope to lure a fifth airline offering nonstop service to a new destination.

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