SFO hits new all-time high of 50 million annual passengers

Passenger numbers at San Francisco International Airport hit a new all-time high of 50 million annual passengers Wednesday, according to airport officials.

The new record, a first in the airport’s 88-year history, was reached Wednesday with the arrival of Katheryn Castanga of Arlington, Virginia, the airport’s 50 millionth passenger of 2015.

SFO officials celebrated Wednesday morning by surprising Castanga as she was preparing to board Virgin America Flight 1 from SFO to Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport.

Castanga, a frequent flyer through SFO and on Virgin planes, received two round trip tickets to Hawaii, the 50th state, SFO officials said.

Airport officials said a report released by the San Francisco city controller’s office in July found that SFO, which has experienced six straight years of growth, had the highest passenger traffic growth among similar-sized airports across the country.

SFO had the highest rate of growth in passenger boardings from 2007 to 2014 at 33 percent, during a period when five other similar airports reported reductions in boardings, the report found.

SFO reached its last major passenger traffic milestone of 40 million passengers in 1997, before the addition of the new International Terminal, the BART extension to the airport, and the AirTrain light-rail system, as well as the renovation and reopening of Terminal 2, airport officials said.

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