EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Airports Usage Trends thru 2014

Update: Data tables have been added to the “read more” section. Additional charts from other sources have been added to confirm the trend shown in these charts.

Frontier Airlines is leaving the Spokane market, leaving 5 airlines (Southwest, Delta, United, American/USA, Alaska). There were nine airlines serving Spokane in 2010. The decline is due to airline mergers (Delta/Northwest, American/US Airways, and Alaska now buys all the capacity of Horizon) and airlines leaving the Spokane market.

Fewer airlines means less competition and likely higher prices for Inland Northwest travelers (especially when only 1 airline serves a destination city). Update Jan 2 2015: Confirmed. Spokane has the highest airline charges in the PNW.

Spokane Airport Passenger Usage Trend

chart_1 (1)

Total Aircraft Operations at Felts Field Airport

chart_2 (2)

Non-Stop Destinations from Spokane and Number of Daily Flights

The orange column represents flight options for January 12, 2015. A different day might yield different results.

chart_1 (2)

Notable Changes in Service

  • Update March 2015: Alaska is introducing a twice per day turbo prop Q400 flight to Boise, starting in August 2015. This restores the Spokane-Boise route to 4 flights per day.
  • 4 fewer flights to Portland than 2011.
  • 6 fewer flights to Denver than 2011.
  • 1 more flight to Salt Lake City than 2011; one less than 2012.
  • Las Vegas is up by 1 and Boise is down by 1.
  • Los Angeles now has 1 daily, taxpayer subsidized flight
  • Chicago is served only in the summer.
  • Service to Sacramento and San Jose discontinued.
  • In 2014, Delta announced a summer time only, once per week on Saturday flight from Spokane to Atlanta. That flight does not currently appear on Delta’s summer 2015 schedule.

2/3ds of all Flights are to Two Airports: Seattle and Portland

chart_2 (1)

 

All of the flights to Portland and about half of those to Seattle are on board turbo prop (propeller) planes (this ratio of turbo props to jets changes over time as airlines change their fleet usage).

Data Sources

Passenger data is from the FAA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 2014 value is estimated from usage through October 2014. Some historical data is from the Spokane Airports web site, but Spokane Airports no longer appears to publish usage data. The passenger usage data starts in 1990 as that is the oldest data provided in the FAA and BTS online data sets.

Non-Stop destinations and flight counts are from looking at available flights departing Spokane for January 12th, 2015 using Expedia.com and Southwest.com (Southwest flights are not shown on Expedia).

This blog is an EXCLUSIVE report as local media have never publicized airport usage or non-stop destination trends. In fact, local media have previously reported on the “continued GROWTH” in aviation in Spokane even though aviation has been in a long term decline.

In 2001, 2005 and 2006, growth in passenger usage was a sign of economic success.

The terminal map lists “Delta, United, American” at Concourse B, but the Terminal B map shows “Delta, United, US Airways”.  However, American and US Airways merged … and operate a US Airways flight from Spokane to Phoenix under the US Airways name.

Extra credit assignments

  • Spot the bump in airport usage created by the expansions of the local Convention Center.
  • Do you know what “code sharing” is? Some people don’t. Korean Airlines and Aeromexico DO NOT FLY TO SPOKANE.
  • Anthony Gill writes “I wish the data weren’t recompiled. It’s hardly trustworthy as-is“. All of the above data is from SpokaneAirports.net, operated by Spokane Airports, the Federal Aviation Administration or the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The Convention Center data is from the Community Indicators of Spokane web site, operated by the City of Spokane and Eastern Washington University, and from the Spokane Public Facilities District. For extra credit, please identify how these sources are untrustworthy.
  • Is accurate data important for setting public policies or is it better to base policy on wishful thinking, exaggerations or lies? Do you think this data should be hidden from the public?
  • Explain why the airport is named “Spokane International Airport” (click link for hints!) since there have not been international flights in decades.

Data Confirmation

Here is an official chart from Spokane Airports Master Plan showing historical traffic – for those that doubt the accuracy of the charts:

SIA1

Chart from EWU Community Indicators of Spokane web site (red line at top added to show the curve) through 2013:

EWIAirports2

Charts from Eastern Washington University study 1992 to 2004:

 

SIA1992-2004

The following chart came from SpokaneAirports.net, the official web site of the Spokane Airports operation. Spokane Airports no longer appears to publish this information.  As you can see, the airport’s own chart shows a decline over the past five years. For those on drugs, this chart shows monthly (not annual totals) and compares month versus month for each of the five years.

5yrComparison

 

Still think the data is untrustworthy Anthony Gill? 

Additional Reference

Still think the data is “hardly trustworthy as-is“? If you still think the data is “hardly trustworthy”, you might look into “cognitive dissonance” and the belief disconfirmation paradigm and how to deal with that.

Data Tables

All the data used in the charts follows.

GEG Passenger Data

Total Pass.
1990 1619880
1991 1589123
1992 1855954
1993 2329953
1994 2687482
1995 2988575
1996 3258762
1997 3043238
1998 2949833
1999 3041626
2000 3068892
2001 2880186
2002 2745788
2003 2789505
2004 3059069
2005 3197440
2006 3224423
2007 3472901
2008 3423500
2009 3055081
2010 3176204
2011 3076554
2012 3005315
2013 2926858
2014 2956126 (est)

Felts Field

Felts Total
1990 68379
1991 83541
1992 84964
1993 69372
1994 69207
1995 69608
1996 65685
1997 62883
1998 72043
1999 74487
2000 76231
2001 69782
2002 66021
2003 70673
2004 65572
2005 68649
2006 65443
2007 72378
2008 66177
2009 65944
2010 63496
2011 59716
2012 52928
2013 54473
2014 53928 (est)

Destination Trends

Seattle Portland Denver SLC Minn. SF Oakland Phoenix Las Vegas Boise Sacra. San Jose Chicago LA
January 2011 21 12 9 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 1 1 0 0
January 2012 16 12 6 5 2 2 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0
January 2015 21 8 3 4 2 0 2 2 3 2 0 0 0 1
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