Mike has a couple of questions and observations:
"Has anyone found out what the passenger numbers are for the new Branson airport yet? I just found out AirTran will be flying to Orlando now. I'm just curious to know how well it is really doing. I also agree Springfield has a great airport. Its nice, not congested, but has a steady pace. It makes the flying experience so much more enjoyable in these times. Smaller cites with smaller airports don't have all the flight options, but they can sure have their own advantages. However, parking is expensive at this airport. But, I understand you got to make money."
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics now has passenger numbers for Branson. Here's how to take a look:
Go to this address: http://www.bts.gov
In the first column, on the left, look for the section called, "Airline Industry." You'll see a sub section called, "Quick Facts." In the second column of bullet points, click on the link that says, "Passengers." This will pull up a big woolly table called, "Passengers, all carriers, all airports."
Use the pull down menus, right underneath the table title, to pull up numbers for both AirTran and Sun Country at the Branson airport. You can pull up data on "Passengers, Flights, Revenue Passenger-Miles, Available Seat-Miles, Load Factor, Operating Profit/Loss, Operating Revenue."
I don't think you'll find any financial stats, but be sure to take a look at passengers, flights, and load factor. Load factor is industry jargon for the percentage of available seats sold. Have fun!
Let's talk about parking. In June I compiled a list of parking charges at various airports. Here's what turned up, these numbers probably haven't changed much. Airports similar in size to Springfield:
Billings, Montana: $10 a day long term
Austin, Texas: $10 to $18.48 per day
Harlingen, Texas: $5 to $7 per day
Fairbanks, Alaska: $9.50 long term per day
Allentown, PA: $14.00 long term per day
Springfield, MO: $10 long term per day, maximum $50 a week.
It's a much smaller airport than Springfield, but here's the cost of parking at the Branson airport:
$12 per day – Maximum $60/week
Here are the rates at nearby larger airports:
St. Louis: $6 to $20 per day
Northwest Arkansas: $7 per day long term
Kansas City: $5.50 per day long term
Tulsa: $6.00 per day long term
I found that comparing parking fees is a frustrating experience. Judging by information posted on airport web sites, some airports have maximum weekly fees, others don't. At first blush it looks as though smaller airports generally have higher parking fees. But then I realized that the larger airports I was looking at didn't have discounted weekly rates. It does seem as if shorter parking stays are cheaper at bigger airports.
Bottom line: from our perspective the cost of parking at SGF is very "middle-of-the-road." Airports are expensive to build, maintain and run. At our airport parking revenue is approximately 12 percent of the airport’s $11.7 million annual budget. As you can see, parking revenue is a significant portion of the budget. Too eliminate it, or to cut it in-half, would significantly affect the level and quality of service that the airport provides.