Bob Hope Airport reports 'strong month'

While the number of passengers traveling through Bob Hope Airport in August was relatively flat — down 0.2% compared to the same month last year — its tally is in the top three months at the airport since January 2013, according to airfield officials.

There were 342,095 passengers in August, compared to 342,390 in August 2014, missing airport projections for the month by 8,170 passengers.

The passenger-count plateau, which follows six months of increases, was reported Monday during a Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority meeting. Passenger numbers overall for the fiscal year, which began in July, are up 1.8%.

The August number, “at first blush may seem a bit disappointing,” said Mark Hardyment, the airport’s director of government and environmental affairs. “But, actually, it was a very strong month.”

Since January 2013, the airport’s passenger traffic has exceeded 340,000 only four times, most recently this past May, but also in August 2014 and May 2013.

With a total of more than 2.6 million passengers, compared to roughly 2.55 million passengers a year ago, the passenger count is up more than 2% for the first eight months of 2015, compared to where it stood at the same time in 2014.

The airport’s parking revenues in August decreased 1.3%.

“We suspect we’re seeing the effect of [transportation network companies],”“ Hardyment said, referring to transportation services such as Lyft or Uber.

Dan Feger, the airport’s executive director, elaborated on that point, noting that the majority of the revenue decrease is in valet parking, which is mostly business travelers. Those travelers may now be choosing to travel by rideshare rather than drive.

Feger said the airport staff will continue to monitor how companies like Lyft and Uber “erode” parking revenues.

Later on Monday, in a meeting of the airport’s legal committee, Feger and his staff outlined a proposal to designate parking spots in the airport’s short-term parking facility where rideshare drivers will be required to park when picking up passengers.

The proposal is expected to be discussed further during the next 30 days. However, Feger said it is only an interim solution until officials can implement a way to allow Lyft and Uber drivers to pick up and drop off passengers at the curbside.

“[Services like Lyft and Uber] are a fact of life,” Feger said. “It is the technology of the future.”

The numbers of drivers using parking facilities was up more than 7%, compared to the prior August. The statistic tracks the number of parking stubs redeemed, including those by Lyft and Uber drivers picking up passengers in the short-term parking facility.

Based on the parking revenues for 2015, so far, Hardyment said the airport is “on pace” to contribute slightly more than $2 million in parking-tax revenues to the city of Burbank’s General Fund.

Other airports in the region also reported hikes in passenger tallies for August. The number of travelers at John Wayne Airport in Orange County rose by 12%. There was a 5.8% gain at Los Angeles International Airport and a roughly 2.3% increase at Ontario International Airport.

However, at Long Beach Airport, where passenger traffic has been trending down for months, August’s numbers showed a 17.4% decrease.

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