The figures reflect an ongoing trend in reduced passenger counts. Passenger numbers were down 6.8% in April and 7% in May. Compared to a year ago, passenger counts from the majority of the airport’s airline carriers dropped 9.5% in June.
“Passenger numbers inevitably peak in July and August, so the extent that our most favorable travel conditions are off by 13% is a signal that something has changed,” Airport spokesman Victor Gill said.
At the Operations and Development Committee’s Sept. 2 meeting, commissioners directed staff to brainstorm ways to help offset the lost revenue.
The first phase of the plan, which will go into effect immediately, includes promoting four direct flights to cities that locals may not be aware that the airport provides, Gill said. The newspaper ads read “More Airport Than You Thought,” and include information about flights to Albuquerque, Chicago, Reno and Pittsburgh, he said.
“The goal is to fill vacant seats on airlines and to help sustain a service that is important to the communities,” Executive Director Dan Feger said.
Airport officials wanted to heighten awareness of the convenient service, because the flights only require one-stop without plane-hopping, Gill said.
“Most of the non-stop flights we offer are to destination cities are pretty common and are already on peoples’ radar,” he said. “So the ads widen our catalog of service and could be very effective. The key is not building new service but retaining what the airport already offers.”
Next stop for the advertising campaign is placing notices in local guidebooks, in-room hotel publications and direct-mail to chamber of commerce members, Gill said. The campaign is expected to cost less than $50,000.
“I have more people come up to me and say that they use Bob Hope every chance they get, but so often the place they want to go is not available,” he said. “So hopefully this will make the traveler think twice and check Burbank out before booking their flight.”