Spokane Airport non-stop destinations – in charts

I like charts so thought to put the data from the earlier post in to chart form. And per the previous post on this topic, this is for a specific day in January 2011.

It is logical to treat the flights to San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose as one geographic area – the SF Bay area. Passengers often fly in or out of any of the airports. I combined all of the Bay area flights into a single category and drew a pie chart, below.

Just 4 destinations account for 80% of all non-stop flights out of Spokane.

As mentioned on some previous posts, and in quotes from local business leaders in previous Spokesman-Review new coverage over the years, this level of air service may be insufficient for national and world-class businesses. In terms of business class service, where time is money, Spokane’s airport serves mostly 4 cities: Seattle, Portland, the SF Bay area and Denver. There may also be some “direct” flights. Unlike a non-stop flight, a “direct” flight might fly a route such as Spokane <–> Seattle <–> San Jose. There’s an intermediate stop and delay but you stay on the same plane all the way through.

The air travel cut backs might be another reason several long standing manufacturing and tech manufacturing companies left Spokane recently. Like the real estate agents say, it comes down to “location, location, location”.

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Proposed September 2011 Spokane Bus Service Reductions

Follow the links on this page for the proposal:  Proposed September 2011 Service Reductions – About STA – Spokane Transit Authority (STA).

The following chart is from the STA:

As you can see – either the STA’s forecast or the real world – one of the two – was off in space.

Comment on Forecasting

I have not looked closely at STA forecasting or past history and have no reason at all to suggest their forecast was badly done. In fact, STA is responding quickly (for a government agency) and aggressively to the changes that have occurred in their area.

One problem I have seen in some area forecasts has been extending the trend of the most recent 2 or 4 years in to the future, even if the recent trend is significantly different than the historical trend. Unless you have much confidence as to why the recent trend is different than the longer term trend, extending the trend line way off into the future is risky and likely to create forecasts that are not accurate. Long term forecasts, which are used to drive long term plans and spending, should be revisited yearly – they often are not.