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Hollywood Burbank Airport records all-time high in passengers

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Hollywood Burbank Airport reported 5,983,737 passengers in 2019, which is the most the airport has seen in its history.
(Raul Roa/Burbank Leader)

Hollywood Burbank Airport had a record-breaking 5,983,737 passengers in 2019 — about 1%, or 62,401, more than the airfield’s previous best year in 2007.

It was the highest number of passengers the Burbank airport has seen in its 90-year history, said Nerissa Sugars, the airport’s director of marketing communications and air service, during a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday.

From a year-over-year basis, the number of passengers in 2019 was up 13.67%, or 719,765 more, compared to 2018.

Denis Carvill, deputy executive director of operations for the airport, said on Tuesday that the record-setting performance in 2019 can be mainly attributed to the economy bouncing back from the recession.

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“It’s taken us a long time to get here,” he said. “If you consider that our last peak was in 2007, and we just surpassed it in 2019, the recovery process was a long process.”

Additionally, Carvill said he thinks the airport’s marketing campaign, which was developed with South Pasadena-based branding firm Anyone Collective, was successful in attracting travelers east of the Colorado Rockies to Burbank.

“When we returned the airport to its Hollywood Burbank name, I think it really let people know where the airport was,” he said.

Carvill added that flights to new destinations — such as Boston, New York and Dallas-Fort Worth — boosted ridership with nearly all of the air carriers operating at the airport.

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Although the numbers of passengers in 2019 were greater than in 2007, the number of flights in and out of Hollywood Burbank declined.

There were 65,058 commercial flights at the airport in 2019, which was 6,891 fewer than in 2007.

Carvill said that is due to an improvement in aircraft capacity — planes that are being used at Hollywood Burbank today are larger and have more seats.

“It means that we can have airplanes that can carry 180 to 185 passengers as opposed to planes with only 135 passengers, which was the most planes could carry back [in 2007],” Carvill said.

“That change has drastically changed the balance of how many aircraft we need for that many passengers,” he added.

Hollywood Burbank finished 2019 with yet another strong performance from the air carriers in December.

There were 554,520 passengers during December, up 19.21%, or an increase of 89,366 passengers, over the same month in 2018.

Southwest Airlines reported 391,386 passengers during that month, a hike of 45,779 compared to the same month in 2018.

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American Airlines had 35,875 passengers, which was 23,224 more than in 2018.

Delta Airlines saw an increase of 15,093 passengers compared to the same month in 2018, with 29,085 passengers in December.

United Airlines had 27,728 passengers, an uptick of 5,758 compared to December 2018.

JetBlue Airways reported 18,174 passengers in December, which was 1,373 fewer than the same month in 2018.

Alaska Airlines had 6,707 fewer passengers compared to 2018, with 44,690 passengers in December.

Spirit Airlines, the newest air carrier operating at Hollywood Burbank, had 7,582 passengers.

Parking revenue also continues to increase at the Burbank airport, which generated about $1.89 million in December — $339,192 more than in 2018.

The boost in parking was attributed to a boom in valet service, according to airport staff.

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Hollywood Burbank also received $444,066 from ride-sharing companies for drop-offs and pick-ups during the month.

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