Boise airport loss of flights

Boise chamber downplays effects of Southwest cuts | Boise, Garden City, Mountain Home | Idaho Statesman.

Boise, like Spokane, is losing Southwest flights. Their Chamber of Commerce – equivalent to Spokane’s Greater Spokane, Inc – is spinning this as having  “minimal implications”.

Yet the first comment and others on the article say the changes make Boise a difficult place for business.

Southwest to abandon Seattle-Spokane route and SIA is not honest about it

ALASKA AIR VIEW

Image by shankool007 via Flickr

UpdateSince this was written, Alaska/Horizon announced it will add 2 additional turbo prop flights to the Spokane-Seattle route.  Alaska did not publicly announce their price hike, but in their reservation system, the price went up..

Southwest to abandon Seattle-Spokane route – Spokesman.com – July 27, 2011.

  1. Claim: Airport spokesperson says there are 20 daily flights on Alaska/Horizon to Seattle.
    Reality: There will be 3 jet flights and 13 turbo prop (propeller planes – just like a rural town) direct to Seattle. That’s 16, not 20. Four additional flights go to Portland where you can change planes, then go to Seattle. Total travel time including TSA groping and so on is longer than just driving. This is easy to check at Alaskaair.com.
  2. Claim: The airport spokesperson says Alaska is not raising fares.
    Reality:  On the Alaska web site, their lowest cost fare option vanishes in January the day before Southwest flights end. This is easy to check.
  3. Claim: The article says an expansion of flights “to Denver in recent years” adds more options.
    Reality: Except there appears to have been a 1/3d drop in flights to Denver this past year. Again, easy to check.
  4. Claim: The airport spokesperson suggests Spokane travelers can fly to “Denver and Phoenix” and then transfer to Seattle.
    Reality: That does not pass the giggle test – that takes far, far longer than just driving to Seattle! We are not idiots.

PR spin or outright lies? You decide.

Many are looking at the air travel situation and realizing we may need to move out of Spokane. It takes a day to get places that I used to get to in 2 to 2 1/2 hour flights, and with lack of options, I may have to stay over an extra night in a hotel.

Filed under “Crime” because the airport is being dishonest. Separately, the SR reporter /editor should have verified or clarified those statements for the reader.

REMINDER: The airport is a proxy for the local economy. The fall off in flights, non-stop destinations and passengers is primarily a reflection of the local and national economy . The data suggest that Spokane’s economy is doing worse than elsewhere. The data presented do not mean that airport management is (presently) doing a bad job, although their PR spin is amusing.

Spokane “International” Airport non-stop destinations as of January 2012

UpdateSince this was written, Alaska/Horizon announced it will add 2 additional turbo prop flights to the Spokane-Seattle route for a total of 18 flights (15 of which are on propeller planes).  Alaska did not publicly announce their price hike, but in their reservation system, the price went up.

The following airlines serve Spokane “International” Airport:

  • Alaska/Horizon
  • Southwest
  • Delta/Skywest
  • Frontier
  • United/United Express/Skywest
  • US Airways

Some airlines hire contract air carriers to service some of their routes. Alaska hires Horizon Air. Delta and United both hire Skywest, and United also has United Express.

A list of non-stop destination cities is provided by SIA in the form of a map (which will not be accurate for 2012).

Each of the above airlines’ schedule was checked for flight availability departing January 9th and returning on January 13th, 2012. This is similar to what was done a year ago for looking at flights in January of 2011.

The Blue bar is this year. The Red bar is 2012.

Notable changes:

  • Sharp drop in daily flights to Seattle. Alaska now has a monopoly on this popular route.
  • Loss of 1/3d of flights to Denver.
  • Increase in flights to Salt Lake City of about 60%.
  • Drop of 1 flight to Boise (or 1/3d drop since there were only 3 flights)
  • Service discontinued to Sacramento and San Jose.
  • Chicago flights are seasonal only – and not during the winter.
  • UPDATE: As of Nov 2011, no Chicago flights are scheduled in 2012. Chicago flights are now gone.

Total destinations now served non-stop, year round are 10 cities.

  • 2004 – 16 cities
  • 2005 – 15 cities
  • 2011 Jan. – 12 cities
  • 2012 Jan. – 10 cities

The general trend in non-stop destinations has been sharply downward.

4 cities have 4 or more flights per day. Six cities have only 2 options per day. From an air travel convenience stand point, SIA serves only 3 or 4 non-stop destinations.

  • 2005 – 70 daily flights
  • 2011 – 60 daily flights
  • 2012 – 51 daily flights

The general trend in total out going flights has been sharply downward.

The general trend in passenger loads has been flat for 16 years.


Reminder: “SIA said in 2005 that the airport’s passenger count reflects the local economy”. That strongly suggests Spokane’s economy has experienced considerable weakening.

REMINDER: The airport is a proxy for the local economy. The fall off in flights, non-stop destinations and passengers is primarily a reflection of the local and national economy . The data suggest that Spokane’s economy is doing worse than elsewhere. The data presented do not mean that airport management is (presently) doing a bad job, although their PR spin is amusing.

  • The airports new Master Plan appears to have already imploded.
  • In recent years, nearly one-quarter billion dollars of tax and mandatory passenger fees (aka tax) have been spent making improvements to SIA.
  • “International” is in quotes because there have been no scheduled international flights in many years.
  • Half of all daily flights out of Spokane (just over 50 total) in January 2012, will be on propeller planes.

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