Airport figures rise slightly

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air lead the board with the number of passengers.

March 10, 2010|By Melanie Hicken

BOB HOPE AIRPORT — After a year of falling passenger numbers, Bob Hope Airport in January saw a slight increase in traffic compared with the same period last year, officials reported Monday.

Nearly 360,000 passengers traveled through the airport in January, up 1.6% from January 2009, according to a report to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday. The passenger increase came despite a 7.1% decline in the number of flights.

Last year’s passenger numbers were the lowest in eight years, falling from 5.3 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2009. The volume of passengers peaked at more than 5.9 million in 2007.


Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the numbers were in a “modestly positive territory” that continued a recent trend of diminishing declines.

“It continues the trend that we saw toward the end of last year of the declines getting smaller and smaller compared to the same month of the previous year,” he said.

During the same time last year, the airport was faced with drops in passenger counts of more than 20%.

The increase was driven by a nearly 14% increase of passengers on Alaska Airlines and a 16% growth at Horizon Air, its sister carrier.

JetBlue saw the biggest change, with a 9% drop in passenger numbers. Southwest, which accounts for about two-thirds of the airport’s flights, stayed steady compared with last year, with a passenger increase of less than 1% after experiencing a nearly 13% drop last year.

Gill attributed this year’s overall uptick to slowly increasing consumer confidence.

“I don’t think it’s really an action of the board,” Gill said. “It’s much more of a reflection of the economy, people’s willingness to spend money on travel.”

He also cited two Pasadena sporting events — the Rose Bowl and BCS National Championship Game — for bringing more people into the region.

Burbank’s figures mirror other airports in the region. Los Angeles International Airport passenger counts jumped about 8%, with numbers at Ontario International Airport remaining about steady compared to last year, according to their operator, Los Angeles World Airports.

Airport commissioner and Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero said the statistics were welcome news after months of double-digit declines.

“I hope that little by little we will recover our passenger load,” he said.

“It does appear like things are beginning to improve a bit.”

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