Flight Blog

 

Our 2010 passenger count is in: the total number of passengers going through the airport was down 2%, compared to the year before. Compared to the wild swings we’ve had the past few years, that doesn’t seem half bad.

Take a look at the graph. It plots our total passenger numbers, beginning in 2000. Each bar on the graph is numbered with its ranking. 2005 was our banner year, so it’s #1. 2002 was our worst year, so it’s #11:

The decade in review. Click to see a larger version.

Here’s the story the graph tells…

In 2000 we had 710,961 total passengers. Then came the havoc of 2001. In the aftermath of September 11th, we finished the year down 8%. It took the airline industry two years to show signs of recovery.

In 2004 passenger numbers finally went up in a meaningful way: up 11%.

In 2005 we shot up 23%. There were several reasons for this increase: 1) The airline industry had mostly recovered from the affects of September 11th. 2) When adjusted for inflation, fares were at historic lows. As a result, more people were flying. 3) Allegiant began flying from Springfield. Delta added service from Springfield to Atlanta. Northwest started service to Detroit and Minneapolis.

In 2006 we dropped 3%. In 2007 we came up 2% Then came the recession….

In 2008, as people cut spending, and many quit flying, we dropped 12%. That was the biggest one year drop in the airport’s history.

In 2009 we came roaring back with an 18% upswing, to finish the year up 4%. Talk about a roller coaster…

Now, were down 2%.

What does 2011 hold? More of the same…status quo.

We expect no significant growth in demand—mainly because the recession is not over, and unemployment continues to hover near 10%. Employment is a key driver in passenger demand: if more people have a job, more people will fly. If fewer people have a job, fewer people will fly.

Fuel is the great wild card. Last summer the spot price for a gallon of jet fuel was about $2.00. This week it’s $2.66.

We expect less than one percent growth in airline capacity nationwide. All bets are off, though, if fuel prices spike this summer. The airlines will respond by cutting the number of seats in the air and fewer people will fly, period.

SGF TOTAL PASSENGERS
  • 2000: 710,961
  • 2001: 653,568
  • 2002: 652,283
  • 2003: 653,253
  • 2004: 721,958
  • 2005: 888,738
  • 2006: 864,999
  • 2007: 883,893
  • 2008: 779,995
  • 2009: 811,771
  • 2010: 796,251

 


Jan 14 2011 Finding Cheaper Fare Gets More Difficult BY sgf-adminTAGS Fares

 

Our past few blog postings have been about the squabble between the airlines and the independent online travel sites. The New York Times dives right in and explains how the fuss affects travelers. Bottom line: you've got to do a lot more digging to find the cheaper fares. Read the story here.

 


Jan 06 2011 Feud Widens BY sgf-adminTAGS Fares

 

"Sabre Holdings Corp., a provider of airfare data to travel agencies, will stop carrying American Airlines flight information in August as a dispute over online ticket sales escalates."

That's the lede in a story from Bloomberg News. As we pointed out a couple of days ago, American is trying to regain control over its ticket sales by taking the middle men out (the middle men being travel web sites like Expedia and Orbitz). This newest development is more than a bit startling because Sabre is American's offspring.

American and IBM launched Sabre in 1960. Billed at the world's "first real-time business application...it enabled American Airlines to replace the handwritten passenger reservations system of the 1950s with the automated reservations system for the future."

Sabre split from American in 2000. Most people have probably never heard of the company. But it's a major behind the scenes player in the travel industry. The fact that it has now joined the fray is bad news for American.

 


Jan 04 2011 Feud BY sgf-adminTAGS FAA

 

We've been watching with interest the on-going feud between American Airlines and travel web sites.  The latest round began when American pulled its business from Orbitz. Then Expedia dropped American tickets from its online offerings.

On its web site, American offers this: "Tickets for air travel on American are no longer available for purchase on Expedia owing to a commercial dispute.  Expedia’s actions to remove American may mislead some customers to believe they have fewer choices, even in situations where American’s fares are lower than other airlines, or when American offers superior schedules."

The Wall Street Journal quotes Expedia as saying, "We remain open to doing business with American Airlines on terms that are satisfactory to Expedia and do not compromise our ability to provide consumers with the products and services they need."

In the final analysis, this feud is all about control and, ultimately, money. Since the early days of the Internet, the airlines have slowly been losing control over their sales. They would much prefer that everyone buy tickets on an airline web site, rather than a travel site, such as Expedia and Orbitz.

 


Dec 13 2010 Find the Terrorist, Not the Bomb BY sgf-adminTAGS TSA

 

With all the fuss lately over TSA security screening techniques, it's interesting to learn how others do it. In Israel they've been fighting terrorism for years. And its approach to airport security is strikingly lucid. A senior Israeli officials sums it up:

'We operate on the principle that it's much more effective to detect the would-be terrorist than try to find his bomb...'

Read more from London's Daily Mail.