Flight Blog

Nov 24 2009 Passenger Numbers Roll On BY sgf-adminTAGS How the Airport Works


Our airport's positive growth trend continue. October's total passenger numbers were up seven percent over the same month last year. That means we're up five percent for the period January - October. In and of itself, that may not sound like a big deal, but it is: we continue to be the only airport in the central region of the United States with positive growth for the year. Take a look at this chart. It shows monthly percentage increases and decreases for the past 16 months:


Notice the valley in September of last year: down 24% compared to the same month the year before––a direct reflection of the national recession. We began 2009 down 14%. Then, in March, we came up 14 points. In April we hit the magic zero––no change from the year before. In May numbers skyrocketed: up 17% Before May we had 15 consecutive months of negative or flat numbers.


For those of you who love numbers, here are the monthly total passenger numbers for 2009, along with the percent change from the same month the year before:


  • January: 50,375. -14%
  • February: 45,797. -15%
  • March: 66,295. -1%
  • April: 61,413. 0%
  • May: 84,496. +17%
  • June: 85,976. +10%
  • July: 84,076. +13%
  • August: 73,499. +13%
  • September: 65,342. +13%
  • October: 71,250. +7%

For more thoughts on why our passengers numbers are so peachy, read this previous post.

Nov 16 2009 Honor, Respect, Gratitude BY sgf-adminTAGS Misc.


Bright and early tomorrow morning (0500!) the airport will host the first, of what we hope will be many, Ozarks Honor Flights.


Honor Flights began in Ohio in 2005. They have one goal:


"To transport, in the safest and most timely means possible, military veterans of World War II to Washington DC to view their World War II Memorial and other commemorative sites with the highest degree of honor, respect and gratitude at no cost to the veteran."


Why the urgency? The World War II memorial wasn't completed until 2004. So most veterans of that war have never seen it. And many have left us without seeing it. Visit the Ozarks Honor Flight web site by clicking here.


We read with amusement this morning a press release from Google.


"Google today announced that it is working with airports across the country as well as Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and others to provide free Wi-Fi as a holiday gift now through January 15, 2010."


A free holiday gift...free Wi-Fi...really? Wow, that's great... I guess Google and all those others must have been watching us—our airport has had free Wi-Fi for the past five years. In fact, we've never charged for it.  Spread the word!


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.

Oct 29 2009 More Airline Mergers? BY sgf-adminTAGS United


The "M" word has been out of fashion lately, but the CEO of United Airlines is uttering it again: merger.


The Financial Times reports: "Glenn Tilton told the Financial Times that consolidation should still play a role in shaping the US aviation industry's future, adding that balance sheets had "probably" improved enough to help finance prospective merger plans. "There is still too much capacity in the US market," he said."


When Tilton brings up the topic of "too much capacity," here's what he's saying: the airlines could charge higher fares if there were fewer seats in the air. It's the economics law of supply and demand: fewer seats mean higher fares; more seats mean lower fares.


Tilton has other motives as well. Read this recent story about the general state of United Airlines.