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.