PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A record number of passengers have passed through Peoria's international airport for a third straight year.

More than 639,000 people flew in or out of General Wayne A. Downing airport in 2014.

That's an 8 percent increase from the year before, and a 10 percent increase from 2012.

Director of Airports Gene Olson says the turnout is linked to new direct flights to Orlando and Fort Myers, Florida.

Olson told the (Peoria) Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1C89L2x ) that the number of business travelers also went up. That's a trend he expects to continue when United Airlines service to Houston starts in March.

Olson said the airport's string of records is all the more impressive given the challenges smaller airports face, including from airline mergers that tend to reduce flights and increase fares.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com