Boise versus Spokane Airport Passenger Trends

People did not believe me when I said that Spokane International Airport handled fewer passengers in 2009 than it did in 1996. They also did not believe me when I said that Boise Airport had seen a net increase over that time. Here then is the actual data and a chart to make the point clear – this is based on data provided by each airport.

Boise remains up in total passengers over the period 1996 to 2009 while Spokane had more passengers in 1996 than it does in 2009. The immediate downturn is due to the economy but that does not explain Spokane’s drop to below 1996 levels. According to the Spokane Airport data, 2010 is running 1.3% above 2009 levels, which means that 2010 would also be below 1996 traffic levels.

The choice of starting years was determined solely by Boise only providing data back to 1996. Data on Spokane is available back to 1990. The choice of Boise versus Spokane is based on each city’s selection of the other as a “comparable city” for comparing each cities relative economic performance.

It is interesting that Boise Airport has produced roughly the same number of air passengers as has Spokane International Airport. Spokane County has an estimated 468,684 residents (US Census official estimate for 2009) versus 384,656 for Ada County, Idaho (home of Boise).  This difference could be do to the much higher incomes of the Boise area versus the very low incomes of Spokane.  Spokane residents may not be able to afford to fly as much as Boise residents. Other factors could be related to the mix of industry in each area, or perhaps travelers come from a wide area around Boise to use their airport.

Data Table for the above:

Year Boise Spokane
1996 2534101 3258762
1997 2536756 3043238
1998 2605376 2949833
1999 2840711 3041626
2000 3032270 3068892
2001 2849052 2880186
2002 2778253 2745788
2003 2700936 2789505
2004 2867123 3059069
2005 3139078 3197440
2006 3289638 3224423
2007 3369420 3472901
2008 3084274 3423500
2009 2795043 3055081

Data Sources:


The Boise data was difficult to transcribe. Some was only provided in PDF format and had to be entered by hand. All is provided only in monthly values. For most of the data, table formats changed from year to year and required much manual fiddling to obtain the values.


During the past several years, the airport has pushed through – a guess here – nearly a quarter of a billion $s in airport improvements, especially in regards to re-aligning and lengthening runways. Even the the passenger load is now less than 15 years ago.

I found a story about the St Cloud, MN airport – which has built a shiny new air terminal but has no air line service and no passengers. The problem, the story suggests, is that the FAA’s airport improvement program spends money on poorly justified projects.


3 Responses to Boise versus Spokane Airport Passenger Trends

  1. Pingback: Spokane Airports Shrinking Passenger Counts « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

  2. Pingback: Proposed Federal budget hard on local Spokane Airport travelers « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

  3. Pingback: Government poised to pour even more money into Spokane International Airport « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s