The busiest December ever capped the second-highest year of passenger activity at the Medford airport.

The busiest December ever capped the second-highest year of passenger activity at the Medford airport.

"I thought it would be a good December and it was feeling good to me as it went along," airport Director Bern Case said. "Breaking the record was the icing on the cake."

The 52,657 travelers passing through the airport gates last month surpassed the December 2007 total of 52,033 and exceeded the previous year's total by 11.5 percent.

For all of 2010, the airport hosted 639,679 travelers, a 7.6 percent gain over 2009, with slightly more leaving than arriving.

The 2010 total was less than 8,000 off the 2007 record of 647,471 and reversed a two-year decline.

"It was a great month," Case said. "All the airlines were up for the month — even Horizon for the month and year, when you add it all up."

Seattle-based Horizon Air has been the largest player here in recent years, but cut some flights after Labor Day.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air more than doubled its numbers from last December.

"Allegiant continues to get the leisure traveler without hurting the others a lot," Case said. "It hasn't been bad for regular business."

What encourages Case is that the numbers have grown in a time when local unemployment was into the double-digits and the overall economy remains sluggish.