Passenger volume flying higher

Ryan Carter

An easing of air-travel jitters, access to domestic flights and easy

parking are among the factors airport officials cite for a spike in

travel at the Burbank- Glendale-Pasadena Airport.


Air travel at the airport increased by 9.2% in July compared to

the same period last year, according to Airport Authority spokesman

Victor Gill. Last month, 426,381 passengers used the airport,

compared to 390,500 during July 2002.


Officials have come to expect larger jumps in August because of

summer travel, but the latest increase was greater than normal and

represented a large spike in a year in which the airport has had

passengers gradually coming back after the terrorist attacks of Sept.

11, 2001.

“In 2003, we’ve seen a situation of mostly slight increases over

the last year in the same month periods, but July was a very big

jump,” Gill said.


Airport officials attribute the spike to a combination of summer

travel, access of economy and valet parking lots, and more comfort

with air travel.

“The economy lots are filling up on the weekends, which is not the

usual pattern,” Gill said. “That indicates that leisure travel is

going on.”

Gill also said offering nonstop flights to a given destination has

kept passenger traffic on an upward trend.


As for terrorism jitters, “the hesit- ancy factor we saw after

[Sept. 11] has largely been recovered from,” Gill said.

Observers of the Southern California airport economy note that

regional airports have done well compared to larger airports. Part of

the reason is simply that they provide easier access for travelers.

“I think it would be ease of access,” said Jack Kyser, chief

economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Regional airports such as Ontario and John Wayne in Orange County

are hubs for shorter-distance carriers such as Southwest and Jet

Blue, and travelers seem to be focusing on destinations within a

six-hour travel radius with little hassle getting into and out of

airports, Kyser said.

“At Los Angeles International Airport, a lot of the activity was

dependent on international travel,” Kyser said.

At Burbank, where Southwest Airlines represents about 70% of the

flight activity, travel has been gradually moving upward in 2003.

Through July, 2,751,011 passengers have come through Burbank, an

increase of 4.9% over the same period from a year ago.