Flight Blog

 

June 2009 was the second busiest month in the history of our airport.  The total passenger count: 85,976. Our number one month was June of 2005: 88,024.

 

June’s numbers were up ten percent over the same month last year. It marks the fourth consecutive month of growth and comes at a time of declining passenger numbers across the country. The only other major nearby airport experiencing growth is the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. It reported its June numbers up 3.9 percent. Passenger numbers were down at the airports in Tulsa, Kansas City and St. Louis.

 

Our growth comes despite cuts in service and significantly fewer flights than last year—the the airlines have cut across the board because of the recession. Delta dropped our service to Detroit at the end of April and American cut our daily number of flights to Dallas from nine to seven. That translates to 15 percent fewer flights this June than last. So why are we doing so well? There isn't any one reason—it's a combination of things:

 

  • The fare sales the airlines have had since the early spring.
  • Between January and May 6 the Springfield media market was saturated with advertising and news stories about the new terminal. This undoubtedly raised awareness of the airport and caused some people to check out the cost of fares. When they discovered how low they were, they jumped!
  • The new Branson airport. Our analysis of fares shows that American Airlines has decided to compete with the Sun Country Airlines service between the Branson airport and Dallas. That's resulted in American fare between Springfield and Dallas for less than $200. That's great news! Unfortunately, the other airlines in Springfield are ignoring the Branson airport.
  • Allegiant Air. The boom in Allegiant service has been amazing. In June Allegiant had 17 flights a week out of Springfield and moved more than 10,000 passengers. The airline's June passengers numbers were up 37 percent over the same month last year.
  • The relative strength of the Southwest Missouri economy. To put it simply, our economy is doing better than most of the country. That translates into more air travel.

Jul 27 2009 Bag Fees Up (again) BY sgf-adminTAGS Airlines

 

It's a sure sign that the airlines are hurting financially: they're hiking bag fees again.

 

On Friday American Airlines announced the cost of checking the first bag will go up from $15 to $20, effective on trips booked after mid-August. But wait, there's more: the cost of a second checked bag on American will go up from $25 to $30.

 

American's boost follows bag fee increases at U.S. Airways, Continental, Delta and United.


 

old terminal image

Lately we've received several questions about the fate of the old passenger terminal. What's to become of it? Will it be torn down? Will it be leased?

 

We can't tear it down. Since it was partially funded with federal aviation dollars, it can't be torn down without permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  But that's a non-issue. We don't want to tear it down; it's a valuable airport resource. Here's why: we can lease the building and generate a new revenue stream that is not related to aviation. That's incredibly important. Here's why...

 

Airport’s have many revenue streams. Here are few at ours:

 

  • Landing fees charged per commercial airline plane that lands
  • Office space rental to airlines, rental car companies, restaurant, etc.
  • Percentage of gross revenue of rental car companies, restaurant, etc.
  • Parking fees

Notice how they all have one thing in common—they’re related to aviation. Or to put it another way, the quality of these revenue streams is directly related to the health of the aviation business. If the airlines are doing poorly, these revenue streams decline.

 

A growing trend in the airport industry is to become less dependent upon aviation related revenue streams. It’s the smart thing to do—particularly in a time when the airline business is extremely volatile (like right now!).

 

Here's the bottom line: non-aviation revenue puts the Airport in a better position to weather the hard times faced by the airlines. And the healthier the Airport's finances, the healthier the overall economy of Southwest Missouri. As any economic development person will tell you, a healthy airport, along with its ability to move people in and out, is fundamental to community business recruitment and job attraction.

 

Okay, okay, that's a long answer to a simple question. So when are going to lease it? Probably before the end of the year. We're currently in negotiations with an entity that wants the entire space.


Jul 14 2009 Forbidden Items BY sgf-adminTAGS TSA

Earlier this week we received this email from Chris:

 

"My eleven year old daughter left on a flight from Springfield Airport Sunday night to O'Hare and then on to Charlotte. She inadvertently had a few items in her carry on (face wash, perfume, lotion) that had to be thrown away. My daughter was visibly upset because she paid for these items out of her own money. It's too bad arrangements could not have been made to get these items either put in her check-in bag or sent to her. This is another example of poor service with both the Government and with the airlines. So much for customer service. My daughter will remember this for a long time and I will not forget the disappointment at having her items taken from her.  Nice job guys!!!!!!"

 

While the Airport does not play a direct role in the security screening process, we do offer these thoughts: We understand how you and your daughter feel. Unfortunately, this is a situation without a practical solution. Here’s why…

 

Dozens of passengers go through the security line every day with forbidden items. Most of these people are running late. Imagine what would happen if they had to get in another line to make arrangements for their forbidden items—arguments would ensue over who was going to pay for postage and how much. What’s the declared value of the item? The list goes on. Bottom line: people would end up missing their plane.

 

Putting the forbidden items into checked bags won’t work because the checked bag has already gone through security screening downstairs and put on the plane. Imagine what it would be like trying to locate checked bags for every person who has a forbidden item. You could literally spend a couple of hours doing that for every plane load full of people.

 

If your daughter would like to learn more about what can and cannot be taken on a plane, these links are a good place to look:

 

http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm

 

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm