Passenger traffic declined slightly last year at El Paso International Airport, continuing a downward trend that began several years ago.

"We just don't have the number of (airline passenger) seats we had in previous years. We're trying to change that," said Jeff Schultes, the airport's deputy director of aviation.
Allegiant Air announced last month that it will begin twice-weekly flights into El Paso in May, which will bring additional passengers into the airport, Schultes said.
The airport handled 2.76 million passengers in 2015 - 15,035 fewer passengers than in 2014 - or a decline of 0.5 percent, new data show.
The airport reversed the downward passenger trend in 2014, with a 0.5 percent increase, but that was an anomaly.
"It's been very flat for several years" because airlines several years ago reduced flights for almost all small airports because of the national recession, Schultes said.
"We're trying to convince airlines that the economy is robust" in this area, Schultes said. The area also has to overcome a bad image from drug-related violence that occurred for several years across the United States-Mexico border in Juarez, he said.
Last Vegas-based Allegiant Air is scheduled to begin twice-weekly flights between El Paso to Las Vegas and San Diego starting May 6. That will add about 42,500 new passenger seats in this market from May through December, Schultes estimated.
Southwest Airlines continued to dominate the El Paso market last year with 51 percent of passenger traffic here, followed by American Airlines at 27 percent.