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.
“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
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.