Banner year for Charleston International Airport

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - 2011 was a banner year for Charleston International Airport despite sluggish numbers across the country.

"I am pleased to announce that in 2011 a new record for passenger traffic was set at Charleston International Airport," said Rep. Chip Limehouse, chairman of the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

Over the past year, the Airport served over 2.5 million passengers; that's a 25% increase from the previous year.

The previous record of 2.3 million passengers was set back in 2008.

Total passenger traffic in the U.S. was down 1% in 2011.

Limehouse says the 'Southwest Effect' played a big role in the airport's success. Southwest Airlines added 7 daily flights to 4 destinations in March 2011

"This new service increased competition in our region and provided additional travel opportunities for our citizens at a lower cost."