Passenger count changes direction at Bob Hope Airport

For the first time in more than three years, the number of passengers at Bob Hope Airport increased in March — even if it was by only a slight uptick.

A total of 333,647 passengers passed through the airport in March, a 0.27% increase from 332,740 from the same time last year, according to statistics released Monday to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

The slight improvement comes as a sharp contrast to the first two months of the year, when airfield officials reported double-digit declines in passengers.

John Hatanaka, the airport's senior deputy executive director, said that the bump is due to a strong performance by Southwest Airlines, which has the lion's share of the flights at the airport.

Southwest had 249,474 passengers in March, a 7.3% increase from 232,425 a year prior.

"March is a mixed bag. There is some good news," Hatanaka said.

JetBlue, which ceased all daytime flights out of Bob Hope in December, reported 8,458 passengers in March, a 64% drop from 23,298 in March 2012, Hatanaka said, adding that the other carriers did not see significant declines.

During the first three months of 2013, the airport handled 909,364 passengers, a 6.8% decline from 975,529 passengers reported during the same period last year.

During a "State of the Airport" presentation earlier in the meeting, Airport Executive Director Dan Feger said that although the long-term outlook for airport is positive, it won't be matching its all-time peak passenger levels, which came in 2007, any time soon.

"The short-term future is tough ... The forecast for passenger growth is flat for this year, and possibly for future years," he said.

Meanwhile, other local airports reported varying passenger tallies in March. Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport saw 5.5% and 6% passenger growth, respectively. However, Ontario Airport reported a 5.4% decline, and Long Beach Airport saw a 12.6% slide.

Another bright spot for Bob Hope Airport in March was that parking revenues rose about 5%. The airport brought in roughly $1.55 million in March, compared to $1.48 million in March 2012.

Parking revenues are tracking on budget for the year, a trend Feger said was a sign that recent rate increases in the airport's parking lots are working.


Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World