Air service to the East Coast could increase next winter based on the success of this year’s addition of flights between Jackson Hole and both Newark and JFK airports. That’s the word from Airport Manager Ray Bishop who says this year shaped up as a banner year at the Jackson Hole facility with 7% growth in the number of passengers served over 2012. Bishop says the Newark and JFK flights did exceptionally well. He says, “I think you’ll see those flesh out and we’ll add more flights to the East Coast – so instead of having one or two flights a week, we’ll have three, four or five.” Bishop says with the increased activity at the airport has come increased challenges, which are being addressed with expansion of the facilities as well as consolidation of flights. He said there used to be thirty or forty smaller planes bringing fewer passengers each flight. Now he says it has been consolidated to the 180-passenger 757s leading to higher peak times of the day. Says Bishop: “When I first got here eight years ago, we would have a peak rush of about 300 people per hour, and right now we’re over 1300 so we’ve seen the peak hour grow by about 400%.” Bishop says construction will resume on the terminal’s baggage claim area in March and eliminate the carousel area for about six months. Altogether, Bishop says the Jackson Hole Airport handles about 60% of all the air traffic that in and out of the 14 airports that serve Wyoming.