BURBANK — The number of passengers at Bob Hope Airport dropped 5% in March, confounding officials who on Monday said the decline was greater than expected.
The loss of 7,497 passengers compared with the same period last year was 2% lower than what had been budgeted for, and likely contributed to a drop in parking revenues, which fell about 7.6%, or $129,000, according to a report to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.
“Well, we haven’t seen the bottom yet,” said airport Executive Director Dan Feger.
Passenger figures typically rebound in March after the slow season in January and February, but that didn’t happen this year. Officials wouldn’t point to any one reason for the decline in passengers, but said the airport budget remained solid despite the lost revenue.
“Overall revenues are still going OK for the fiscal year,” airport spokesman Victor Gill said. “That reflects the fact that we were being conservative in our outlook.”
With fewer passengers coming through Bob Hope Airport, the negative impacts on parking revenue are expected to continue.
“Gasoline prices are jumping all over the place,” Feger said. “And it’s not yet clear to the extent that affects the parking revenue.”
The airport authority commission will likely get a no-growth budget proposal next month for the upcoming fiscal year, Feger added.
Airlines, meanwhile, have been reducing the number of seats available to passengers who fly out of Bob Hope Airport, which has resulted in a nearly 3% increase in seat occupancy, officials reported.
“Airlines are achieving what they hope to achieve: Use less planes, but fill more people in the empty seats,” Feger said.