For the first time in at least five years, the number of passengers using Bob Hope Airport declined during the important November-December holiday travel season, according to data released this week.
Looking at a year-to-year comparison, the passenger tally in December dropped by almost 8% compared to the year before, adding to a steady decline that plagued the airfield throughout last year.
The airport handled 330,966 passengers in December, down from 359,272 during the same time in 2011, according to a report released to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday.
John Hatanaka, the airport's senior deputy executive director, said the year-to-year decline wasn't limited to Bob Hope Airport.
“December was bad for all airports except Los Angeles [International Airport],” Hatanaka said. “It really is a lack of demand for the travel services.”
Ontario Airport reported a 7.3% decrease in passengers in December, and Long Beach Airport saw an 8.3% drop. Meanwhile, John Wayne Airport saw a 5.5% increase due to stepped-up travel to Mexico, according to Hatanaka.
LAX saw a roughly 5% jump in passengers, he added.
Executive Director Dan Feger said that much of the decline could be attributed to American Airlines' departure from the airport last February. At the time, American made up about 7.5% of the total number of passengers at the airfield.
For the year as a whole, roughly 4.1 million passengers traveled through the airport, a 5.7% decrease from 4.3 million in 2011.
Hatanaka said 2013 might bring more of the same, as industry forecasts project a 3% decrease in demand nationwide for domestic flights.
Parking revenue at Bob Hope tumbled about 6.7%, from $1.42 million in December 2011 to $1.32 million this past December.
The drop didn't catch the airport off guard, however.
“We did expect it to drop off,” Feger said, adding that parking revenues in December haven't historically followed the usual passenger increases for the month.