CAE welcomes over 1.2 million passengers, 2023 Year in Review

February 1, 2024

The numbers are in and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport is excited to share that the airport welcomed 1,234,487 million passengers in 2023 – inching closer to the highest number of passengers in over a decade that was reached in 2019.

“Seeing a continuous increase of passenger traffic through the airport is going to be the ultimate indicator of the always forward, positive momentum we’re looking to maintain here at CAE,” said President & CEO, Mike Gula. “The number of individuals that choose to utilize our airport has a significant impact on our overall sustainability and future success.”

With a 16% increase over 2022’s passenger traffic, which saw 1,063,630 passengers, the noteworthy increase CAE saw in 2023 was due in part to the addition of numerous routes and service on both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Last summer, American Airlines (AA) added a nonstop route from CAE to Chicago – a first for AA in the Columbia market. Additionally, AA added a nonstop flight from CAE to New York City (LaGuardia) as well as brought back its seasonal service from CAE to Miami. Delta Air Lines added a second nonstop flight from CAE to New York City (LaGuardia) – offering a morning and evening option to passengers.

“Having options of routes, carriers and flight times is crucial to travelers when looking to book a flight,” said Vice President of Marketing & Air Service Development, Kim Jamieson Crafton. “These additional routes make a difference in the decision process and will impact a passenger’s choice to fly out of CAE or another airport. We are thankful for this additional service for the region and look forward to seeing more service added in 2024.”

To further accommodate and enhance travelers’ experience, CAE, in partnership with its concessionaires, updated a number of food, beverage and retail spaces throughout the airport.

Last year, Samuel Adam’s Columbia Brewhouse, Jimmy John’s and Dunkin’® were added to the food court, replacing some of the longtime establishments, making way for national brands. Opening this Monday, February 5th is another dining option, The Friendly Caterer To-Go. This eatery will be one located in the main lobby pre-security.

For retail, a multi-phased effort started to renovate all three shops across the airport. The new locations, Three Rivers Collection, Vista Trading (now open) and Explore Columbia will all be completed by winter 2024. In the main lobby, Avanti Market vending machines were installed – offering grab-n-go snacks and travel essentials to passengers and the general public.

The important work on an airport master plan started in the summer of 2023 that will provide an introspective look at the airport’s current facilities, amenities, capacity and more to determine how it can better meet the needs of travelers for the next 20 years. More information about the CAE Airport Master Plan can be found on the airport’s website.

“We say it often because it’s that important,” said Gula. “We appreciate each and every person that chooses to fly out of this airport and ask everyone to always check CAE first and fly local when you can.”

In all regards 2023 was another banner year for CAE that set the stage for another successful year in 2024. For more information on the Columbia Metropolitan Airport or to review the 2023 CAE Annual Report, please visit

About the Columbia Metropolitan Airport

Now providing 26+ daily flights with nonstop service to 10 major airports in nine cities including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York City (LGA), Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and Reagan National), Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), a two-time Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accredited facility, continues to be a major economic driver for the Midlands region. Welcoming over 1 million passengers in 2022, CAE is served by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines and serves as a regional cargo hub for UPS and served by cargo carrier, FedEx. Want to save money the next time you park at the airport? Pre-book your parking and save on the spot by visiting