The upward passenger trend continues at our airport …
In July total passenger numbers were up 10.8%. That’s compared to the same month last year. Year to date our numbers are up 11.9%.
These are the best growth numbers we’ve had since before the Great Recession. They reflect not only an improving Southwest Missouri economy, but an improving national economy as well. Airports across the country are benefiting — let’s take a look at five airports roughly comparable to ours …
Statistically speaking, there are five airport markets similar to us in terms of population served, personal income, and per capita personal income. Here they are, along with their percentage change in passenger numbers for the period January-June, 2014:
Jan - June 2014
|CRP||Corpus Christi, TX||+11.6%||Link|
These increases come after several years of declining, or flat passenger numbers. And as you can see growth is not confined to Springfield — it’s part of a national growth trend this year. The health of the national economy has a lot to do with it, as does the improved financial health of the airlines. But perhaps most importantly, at least in our market, the airlines have noted our pent up demand — we’ve been telling the airlines for several years that more people would fly from Springfield if only there were more seats.
Until now, the “give us more seats” argument has been a tough sell. That’s because the airlines have focused relentlessly on cutting the number of seats in the air (fewer seats in the air means less cost). But now the airlines see our pent up demand and they’re responding accordingly.
So far this year the number of airline flights in Springfield is up 3.8. And the number of seats in the market is up 6.4 percent. These increases come after years of negative numbers at airports across the country. And Delta is bringing bigger planes to our airport …
Delta currently has five daily Atlanta flights on 50-seat regional jets. Boeing 717s will serve one of those flights beginning September 2. That means four flights a day on 50-seat planes, and one on a 717, which has 110 seats. Let’s do some basic airline math …
We’ll work off just the Monday-Friday flight schedule …
The 717 aircraft brings 60 more seats a day to the market. Multiply that by the number of weekdays left in the year (87) and you get at least an additional 5,220 seats coming to our market. Let’s put it another way …
In November Delta will have at least 18% more seats flying between Springfield and Atlanta (when compared to the same month last year). That’s a HUGE increase — and one that promises to keep our growth numbers way up through the end of the year.