Jan 23, 2013 21:10 Metro Airport passenger count up Metro Airport passenger count up Advocate staff report Jan. 23, 2013 Comments The 2012 passenger count at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport exceeded 2011 by 2.06 percent, making it the best year among the past four years and a catalyst for more flights this year, the airport reported. A total 826,488 passengers departed or arrived at the airport in 2012. Delta was the top airline with a 39 percent passenger share. United was second at 28 percent, followed by American Eagle at 24 percent and US Airways at 9 percent. “We appreciate the community’s support of our air service. Residents using the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport are helping to sustain and potentially expand flights at BTR,” Director of Aviation Anthony Marino said in a news release. The airport had one of the highest percentage of seats filled of any airport in the Gulf Region, the news release said, and officials anticipate seating capacity growth locally based on future flight schedules. Delta is scheduled to increase from eight daily roundtrip flights to nine in February, then to 10 in March. One of the Delta flights is a 125-seat mainline DC9 jet. United will expand from eight to 10 daily roundtrip flights on peak days beginning in mid-February. American Eagle is scheduled to maintain eight daily roundtrip flights, but the airline has begun flying larger regional jets into BTR. US Airways continues to offer three daily roundtrip flights to its Charlotte, N.C., hub. To help encourage use of the airport, the BTR Thanks Again Rewards Program was started at the end of 2012. It allows BTR customers to earn airline miles for money spent on parking, shopping or dining at the airport.