Bob Hope traffic continues to slide

Airline passenger traffic at the Bob Hope Airport dropped again in August, but at a much lower rate than earlier this year, according to the latest figures released this week.

The number of passengers using the airfield in August dropped 1.6% compared to the same period last year, beating budget projections for the month, officials said.

The improved figures were a relative bright spot in what has otherwise been a dreary year. Passenger figures dropped 3.3% in July, preceded by declines of more than 5% the four months prior.

The airfield handled 392,826 passengers in August, down from 399,180 passengers in August 2010, according to statistics released on Monday to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

Parking revenues were roughly $1.64 million in August, down 5.8% from the nearly $1.8 million reported in August 2010.

Airport Executive Director Dan Feger told authority members on Monday that the steeper drop in parking revenues compared to passenger rates was an anomaly — they usually run in tandem.

It was possible more passengers were having friends or relatives take them to the airport to save money on parking, Feger said.

The airport has remote lots where daily rates range from $10 to $12. A self-parking economy lot costs $21 per day and valet parking services range from $21 to $31.

Feger said airport officials will be checking to see if a parking-revenue trend appears during the next few months so they can plan accordingly when they draft the 2012-13 budget early next year.

About 2.86 million people have come through Bob Hope Airport so far this year, officials reported, a 4% drop compared to last year.

The number of available seats has also been squeezed from 563,200 in August 2010 to 558,240 this year, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

Airlines have been cutting back on available seats to improve occupancy rates, which remained steady at about 70%, Gill said.

Passenger numbers at other regional airports were a mixed bag in August. John Wayne Airport in Orange County reported a 0.8% rise and Los Angeles International Airport jumped 5.3%. Ontario reported a 6.7% decline.

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