Bob Hope Airport numbers continue to fade

Bob Hope Airport continued its summer slump as the number of passengers traveling through the airport slid by more than 7% in August.

The airport handled 336,361 passengers in August, an almost 7.3% decrease compared to 362,763 in August 2012, according to statistics released by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday.

The drop continues a summer-long decline in passenger numbers, with a decline of roughly 3.5% in June and 8.2% in July. That was preceded by slight increases in May and March.

Dan Feger, the airport's executive director, said that although the airport saw an expected bump from July’s 318,859 passengers, the August numbers were still below what the airport had projected in its budget for the month.

Feger said via phone on Tuesday that the passenger decline was due primarily to economic factors affecting the aviation industry as a whole, which have led air carriers to reduce the number of flights out of Burbank.

“Airlines are not expanding their fleets,” he said. “Because their fleet is fixed, they reallocate their fleet to where they can make the most money, around the world.... We are the victim of that.”

During the first eight months of 2013, roughly 2.57 million passengers used Bob Hope Airport, a 5.1% drop from about 2.71 million passengers during the same period last year.

Although past service levels show there were passengers who would use Bob Hope Airport for non-stop flights to locations such as Atlanta or Chicago, airlines in Burbank no longer fly directly to those destinations.

They have chosen instead to shift their aircraft to more profitable routes, especially international service, Feger said.

“We know the demand is there; what happens is, the airplanes aren’t there,” he added.

Meanwhile, other airports in the region reported a mixed bag of passenger totals in August. Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana saw 3.9% and 1.5% hikes, respectively. However, Ontario Airport reported a 14.7% decline and Long Beach Airport saw a 6.7% drop.

Feger said the airport authority has sent staff to meet with airlines and explain the benefits of flying out of Burbank, but those efforts have proven challenging.

“It’s a tough business here to try and predict your future and change your future when you don’t really have control over the real forces that determine your future,” he said.

The airport’s parking revenues in August were up by about 3.3% over last year.

“[It’s] what we’re going to call good news,” Feger said on Monday.

Bob Hope Airport brought in $1.55 million in parking revenues in August, compared to $1.5 million in August 2012, and slightly higher than the budgeted figure of $1.54 million.


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


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