It was a small uptick in passengers last month, but the manager of the Casper/Natrona County International Airport will take it.

“One percent is not a large increase, but we are looking at it as a positive sign since it is our first comparative monthly increase since January,” Glenn Januska said Friday.

“The last time we saw a higher June enplanement total was 1987," he said.

Januska reported 9,587 people boarded planes in June, up from about 9,500 a year ago.

The June increase doesn't necessarily mark a trend, but previous months' declines don't either.

And that illustrates the vagaries of gauging air traffic markets and how airports respond to maintain business.

The June increase could be a result of a stabilizing economy, he said.

It also could be a result of Sheridan losing its air service, and more people driving from there and Riverton to fly from Casper, he added. "There's too many variables."

Other variables could include a growing local population, or the necessity of business travel compared to the leisure travel, which depends on disposable income, Januska said.

Business travelers will be more likely to rent vehicles, while leisure travelers are more likely to park their vehicles in the parking lot, he said.

Both supply revenue to the airport, which is owned by Natrona County but is self-sufficient, Januska said.

Those revenues are important, but that's not the airport's main job, he said.

"We look at making decisions that's going to be the best thing for the traveling public," Januska said.

Watching the trends of passengers getting on planes goes into those decisions, and with that comes the hope that service will continue to improve, he said.

"The more people who use it, the more air service, the more frequency of flights we get, the more destinations we get, and then those things tend to generate more revenue," Januska said. "You've got a new destination, you've got more landing fees, more passengers use it, the airlines are more competitive with their fees."