Updated Spokane and Felts Field Airport Operations Through August

Data comes from SpokaneAirports.net. The 2011 totals are estimated using the January through August totals. 2011 passengers enplaned is down about 2.5% from last year.  As you can see, SIA passenger usage has been in decline since a local peak in 2007, has been below 1996 levels for 3 years, and has been flat for 15 years.

The Felts Field traffic totals include a combination of flight operations including some training, business travel in private aircraft or on charters, cargo, medical air ambulance services, maintenance and aircraft upgrade test flights, and personal and recreational flying. The 2011 total is an estimate based on the January through August pattern.  Spokane Airports blames bad weather during the first half of the year for the 2011 fall off.

The airport’s full press release appears after the break.The press release acknowledges that this is a measure of economic activity but blames it on the national economic situation. I agree, but as noted in other posts on this blog, Spokane also has its own issues separate from the national situation. We need to be careful about hiding our situation underneath the national economic situation especially when Seattle and Portland are showing healthy growth and Boise is down -1% compared to -2.5% for Spokane, so far this year.

Seattle is up 4.57% over a year ago as of August. And their overall growth curve is very different than that for Spokane (chart is through 2010). Chart is from the SeaTac web site.

For 2011, Portland has seen a +4.1% growth in passengers versus last year. Vancouver, B.C., is up 1.2% versus a year ago. Great Falls, Montana airport is up 8.5% in 2011 and up 14% in the first quarter of 2012.

In August 2011, Boise is off -1% compared to last year. The following chart is through 2009 (chart source). Data is from the Boise Airport.

The data absolutely do not justify the claim that Spokane’s drop in air traffic is solely due to the national economy.

Again: up at Portland, Seattle, Great Falls, MT and Vancouver, BC, and down 1% at Boise.

AIRPORT RELEASES STATISTICS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST

(Spokane, WA) – Spokane International Airport (GEG) reported that during the month of August, 306,337 passengers boarded planes; a 4.06 percent decrease versus the 319,312 passenger boardings in August of 2010. Through the first eight months of 2011, GEG has handled 2,069,330 total passengers; a 2.49 percent decrease from 2010.

Lawrence J. Krauter, Chief Executive Officer, Spokane Airport Board, commented “Our community is experiencing the results of a nationwide capacity re-balancing by scheduled passenger airlines in response to volatile fuel prices and an uncertain national economy. While enplanements were down by 4% in August, this was against a 7% reduction in available seats and 16% fewer departures. Our opinion is that the local experience is tracking with the national trend in which demand remains strong for business-related travel and has softened for leisure travel.”

During the month of August 5,086.9 tons of freight came through GEG in comparison to 3,793.0 tons in 2010; a 34.11 percent increase. Through August of 2011, 32,935.8 tons of freight has come through GEG in comparison to 32,311.4 tons in 2010; an 8.66 percent increase.

Krauter further stated, “Spokane’s cargo continues to trend in a positive direction with monthly and year-to-date volumes exceeding those in 2010. This is one of the indicators that the local economy continues to improve. August’s nearly 34% increase is due in large part to an increase in freight activity handled by UPS.”

Felts Field Airport reported 6,750 aviation operations during August; a 2.47 percent decrease from 2010’s 6,921. For 2011, 42,162 aviation operations have been reported at Felts Field; a 10.79 percent decrease versus 2010’s 47,261. Felts Field also reported 2.9 tons of freight was handled during August; a 26.26 percent increase over 2010’s 2.3 tons. Through August 2011, 21.2 tons of freight has been reported at Felts Field; a 35.9 percent decrease from 2010’s 32.9 tons.

“The overall decline in operation numbers at Felts Field can be attributed in aggregate to poor weather conditions in the first two quarters of the year and a struggling economy,” stated Krauter.

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