Airport traffic remains down

For the fourth consecutive month, airline passenger traffic at Bob Hope Airport dropped below budget projections, declining 5.1% in June compared with a year ago, according to the latest airport statistics.

The number of passengers using Bob Hope Airport has declined by more than 5% every month since March, according to the latest figures released to the Burbank-Glendale Pasadena Airport Authority.

Other regional airfields also experienced declining traffic. In Orange County, John Wayne Airport reported a 2.9% drop, and Ontario Airport reported a 5.8% dip.

Bob Hope Airport handled 371,931 passengers in June, compared with 392,052 passengers in June 2010, according to the authority.

The ongoing decline comes as airlines continue to reduce the number of available seats, which dropped by 7% last month as they cut the number of flights to increase their occupancy rates.

There were 524,072 available seats in June, down from 563,594 in June 2010, according to airport spokesman Victor Gill. The seat occupancy rate went up 2% in June to almost 71%, he added.

This change came despite U.S. Airways adding a Saturday flight to Phoenix and Southwest scheduling two daily flights to Denver.

Southwest previously did not offer nonstop flights to Denver, which has become a hub for the airline, Gill said.

With the addition of Bob Hope Airport, all of Southwest’s airports on the West Coast will have direct flights to Denver.

Gill said the additional flights could end up boosting the airport’s passenger counts, particularly with Southwest.

“They’re very judicious in where they put their airplanes and good at getting people on board,” he said.

Despite the drop at Bob Hope and other regional airports, Los Angeles International reported a 6% increase in passenger traffic.

While the monthly passenger numbers continued to tumble in Burbank, the $19.8 million in recorded parking revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30 were $300,000 higher than anticipated.

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