John has several questions about the leakage posting:
"12% leakage sounds really good. But, just a retired truck driver being curious...how did you guys figure out that is was 12%. Did you survey residents? I also noticed that the report said that 13% of the 8 million people that visit Branson fly, but only 10% of those fly through Springfield? That number seems low...how did you figure that. Do you think that if the airport raises that number...say to 50% will you be able bring more low fare airlines and lower existing prices for us locals?"
The 12 percent figure comes from two separate studies:
- "Traffic Capture Analysis" conducted by the Boyd Group, a nationally recognized aviation consulting and forecast firm. The company conducted the study in the 4th Quarter of 2007 and used data gathered from about 145 airports, including Springfield. The data for each airport includes the population of each airport's service area and demographic information. Simply put, an airport can expect to have a certain number of passengers based on the personal income of the service area. The study also looked at the number of passengers in comparable markets and at Branson tourism data.
- "Resident Market Survey" conducted by Jenry Henry and Associates in the 3rd Quarter of 2006. This was a telephone survey of people living in the service area of the airport (a 70-mile circle around Springfield). Based on survey responses, the survey concluded that "nearly 85% of resident commercial airport customers flew out of SGF on their last commercial flight."
Bottom line: we have two studies, done independently of one another; each using different methodology, that reached the same conclusion.
As for the question concerning Branson tourism... The Boyd Group Study looked at Branson tourism data and at departing passenger survey data generated at this airport. Departing passenger surveys are done three times a year at the airport. Surveyors ask departing passengers a bunch of questions, including, "purpose of trip?"
Do I think capturing more Branson bound tourists will help lower fares? Sure. Assuming there are a million Branson bound fliers to capture. But I have to point out that the question is based on the assumption that there's a total of 1.03 million passengers out there flying to Branson and that the Springfield airport is capturing 103,000. The study considers both of these numbers "generous" and I agree.
What tends to get lost in discussions about Branson tourism and airports in one simple demographic fact: the average household income of a Branson visitor is $59,800 (according to 2007 Branson tourism data). The average household income of a typical flyer is $93,400 (according to the Travel Industry Association).