The Des Moines International Airport set a new monthly record for passengers in March, logging 263,098, a 12.6 percent jump over the previous March. The March 2019 total was 4.8 percent higher than the previous record for any month. 

The traffic was higher than airport officials predicted, even after a string of records over the past few years. With traffic running eight years ahead of projections, airport board members are concerned about how long the terminal — which is scheduled to be replaced — will be able to handle the passengers during peak times. 

“We have seen record-breaking months of passenger traffic before, but the totals from March of this year exceeded all expectations,” said airport Executive Director Kevin Foley. “While this growth is immensely positive for the Des Moines metro area and state of Iowa as a whole, the speed at which it’s increasing is much faster than initially predicted. Passengers are feeling the stresses of the antiquated terminal sooner than expected as the volumes of passenger traffic continue to grow. Securing the funding to complete the new terminal project has become increasingly necessary to accommodate this growth.”

In 2018, the Des Moines International Airport handled a record 2.77 million passengers, with more than 200,000 passengers each month. That pattern has continued. 

In the first quarter of the year, the airport saw 686,373 passengers.  

Helping fuel the counts are two new flights to Washington, D.C., and seasonal flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Fla.