Spokane Airport and PFD Chart Updates

I was asked to update some charts (this blog is not coming back to life but I may update some additional charts too).

Spokane International Airport and Felts Field Usage Trends


Passenger usage has been a flat line for 30 years. When passenger counts went up from 2003 to 2007, the Airport and local officials said passenger counts were a proxy for the local economy. A larger post on airport trends through 2014, including links to data sources, is here.

The next chart measures take offs and landings at Felts Field.


Data: US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, FAA

Spokane PFD Facilities Trend

image-9Data: Spokane PFD and Community Indicators of Spokane.

Since the economic depression in Spokane, the PFD’s attendance has rebounded but remains below the 2010, 2007 and 2001 peaks. A regression line drawn from 2001 to the present is a slight downwards trend.

Through 2015 end of year:


Reminder: The PFD conducted local economic impact studies for 2007 and 2010 and claimed these two years were representative of every year. 2007 and 2010 are represented by the two large spikes in the orange curve above; history shows they were not representative of the PFD’s normal impact on the Spokane economy.

How Many Events at the Spokane Arena Required the 2012 Seat Expansion?

In 2012, the Spokane PFD went to voters with a campaign to expand the Spokane Arena, saying the NCAA would require 12,000 “sellable” seats to hold future NCAA events at the Arena. The then 12,000 seat arena did not have enough seats to have 12,000 “sellable” seats (many seats are used by media, bands, cheer teams and others and were not “sellable”). The expansion led to a total of 12,638 potential seats in it largest seating configuration.

After the election was held, the NCAA reset the seating requirement  down to 10,000 “sellable” seats. The PFD kept this quiet and local media hid this change for months. See NCAA reduces seating requirements; Spokane PFD’s Arena expansion no longer required.

But at least the Arena would have more seats to fill at other events, they said.

How many events in 2015 filled the new seating capacity?


Source: 2015 Year End Report, page 52 (published by the Spokane PFD).


In 2014, a state high school basketball tournament exceeded 13,000 attendance, but this is not individual game attendance for two reasons:

  1. The maximum seating capacity for the Arena, when configured for basketball, is 12,210. The maximum seating for any configuration is 12,638.
  2. They combined attendance of multiple games played on the same day at the Arena (which is how the PFD typically presents attendance figures). Old event schedules indicate there were 3 to 8 games played each day of the tournaments. Thus, the Arena did not reach the new full capacity.

Related old posts:

EXCLUSIVE: They can publish a Mohammed cartoon, but not these charts

Free speech, sensitivity clash in media outlets – Spokesman.com – Jan. 15, 2015.

The Spokesman-Review published an image of Mohammed (also known as Muhammad) that offends many, with editor Gary Graham saying

The cover illustration itself is a significant news development and I believe we have an obligation to our readers to let them see it for themselves and form their own opinions about it.”

The “Mohammed” charts of Spokane: the charts that must not be seen!

The Spokesman-Review believes it is not important for readers to form their own opinions about the airport and Public Facilities District usage trends.

Click on any chart for the full size version. See previous posts on this blog for additional information, sources, other confirmations of the data, and the raw data






“In this sense, propaganda serves as a corollary to censorship, in which the same purpose is achieved, not by filling people’s heads with false information, but by preventing people from knowing true information. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people’s understanding through deception and confusion, rather than persuasion and understanding.” SourceWatch.

The Spokesman-Review has demonstrated its inability to report on important local issues by “preventing people from knowing true information” – the definition of a propaganda outlet.

Local media completely missed – and in fact, enabled – Rachel Dolezal’s long term deceptions – a story better reported in the national and UK press than local Spokane media which has reached a new low since then. Under the circumstances, Spokane and Rachel Dolezal were a match made in, well, the scam and fraud capitol of America. Update Sep 2015: The nonsense just goes on and on.

What has ailed Spokane for the long term is now quite apparent.

There is no longer much purpose for this blog.  The problems are apparent: lies, the liars that tell them (see this blog for a long list of tall tales, lies and local myths and exaggerations), deception, fraud, and the propaganda industry that enables this culture (and the latest set of lies).  No one gives a shit that everyone here lies all the time. Indeed, bull shit is the area’s leading economic output.

That is the end of the story. Our questions have been answered.

From “The X Report”, good bye.

Continue on to re-read our final words reprinted from an earlier post.

Read more of this post

EXCLUSIVE: No correlation between Convention Center and Airport usage

The Convention Center is said to be an economic driver that brings in outside visitors to Spokane, and this is the justification for continually expanding the facilities.  In just a few years, the PFD will seek additional taxes to expand again.

Does this economic driver work? Here is a comparison of airport usage versus convention center usage. Visually, there is no correlation; statistically, the R-squared value of the correlation is 1.6% (meaning zilch correlation).


If the Convention Center brings in outside visitors, they do not arrive by air or the number is so insignificant as to have no impact.

The air passenger data was scaled to a similar range to the Convention Center attendance for the purpose of comparison. In the chart above, the Y-axis shows convention center attendance; multiply by 10 for the air passenger number.

There is no correlation with jobs, either.

The top 2 largest events account for more than 25% of all usage:

  • Bloomsday, 47,346 people
  • PNQ Volleyball, 44,461 people

Outside of those two events, the remaining events average less than 700 people per day, the rest of the year. 

The Convention Center was just expanded so it can accommodate large events. Unfortunately, for a facility designed to accommodate up to 6,500 people, actual utilization is closer to 10% of best case, most of the year.

Spokane Convention Center Usage By Month


Spokane Arena By Month

For many months, the facility is almost unused.


Spokane INB Performing Arts Center

The INB Performing Arts Center is barely used for several months of the year.

SpokaneINBByMonthAll charts come from the SpokanePFD.org web site and the 2014 end of year annual report produced by the Spokane PFD.

Keep this in mind when in 2 or 3 more years, the Spokane PFD comes asking for more money for yet another expansion of their empty facilities.

Hoopfest Ironman

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Attendance thru 2014

The following charts show the attendance trend through the end of 2014 for Spokane PFD facilities.

The upward growth at the right of the combined “all facilities” attendance is due almost entirely to a sharp upwards trend at the Convention Center in 2014. Combined facilities attendance trend still remains slightly down over the 15 year period since 2000.


image (1)

image (2)

The Convention Center experienced its first significant increase in attendance in a decade. Two events accounted for nearly 30% of all usage during the entire year. (Most of the year, the facility is used sparsely with small meetings of 100 or so people each day.)


This increase occurred prior to the completion of the third expansion of the Convention Center facilities, which opened in early 2015.  After more than a dozen years of flat to downward usage, and three taxpayer funded expansion projects, the CC has broken through its past “no growth” ceiling.

The above charts have never appeared in any Spokane media outlets – the attendance figures are intended to be top secret, apparently. All data comes from the Spokane PFD.

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Airport Passenger usage charts, updated to 2015

Data through April 2015. Chart extrapolates the first 4 months to the full year for 2015.

With a slight growth in air passenger traffic, annual air passenger total usage is now roughly the same (corrected) still below 1995 and about the same as the year 2000.  Overall passenger use of the airport has been essentially flat for two full decades.

If recent growth continues, air passenger levels may reach the 2007 peak in about 2018 or 2019.






Spokane versus King County Employment/Unemployment: A Tale of 2 Counties

Spokane County Employment

Spokane County has  caught up to the pre-depression peak


Spokane has an unusual “saw tooth” pattern in its employment chart. Oddly, as shown on this blog in the past, the labor force miraculously resizes in direct proportion to employment so the unemployment rate stays fairly steady.

King County Employment

King County has exceeded the pre-depression peak by 7%


Spokane County Unemployment



King County Unemployment



All psychiatrists at Sacred Heart, resign.

All of the psychiatric doctors at Sacred Heart Medical Center have turned in their resignations.

Sacred Heart provides (provided) critical in-patient psychiatric services in the Spokane area.

A comment to the story (unverified) says other psychiatrists in the area have also resigned from at least one other facility. No specific reason has been given for these resignations; several comments to the story note that except for the Inlander, local media has ignored these resignations yet this is potentially a serious crisis for the Spokane region.