Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Officials: Traffic near Flat at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Officials: Traffic near Flat at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City

Article excerpt

Passenger traffic through Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City for the first half of the year was up less than 1 percent from the same six months in 2009, officials reported this week.

That nearly flat level of activity is stronger than it seems when considered against the economy, Director Mark Kranenburg said. Tulsa International Airport's traffic was down about 2 percent for the same comparative periods, the latest statistics show.

"In the last two years, we've seen a lot of cutbacks in routes and fleet mix and seats available per day because of the economic recession, with high fuel prices in March 2008 seeming to start it all," Kranenburg said. "However, we've climbed back from 15-percent reductions in capacity that followed those banner years in '06 and '07.

"In a relative way, I'm kind of positive that we've kind of flattened out and are actually up a little bit," he said. "Southwest is picking up another nonstop route to Las Vegas in August and Delta has added more to their monthly schedule for the summer. We just haven't seen those benefits yet. ... The industry has stabilized quite a bit and airlines are starting to look for opportunities again."

For the first six months of the year, about 826,000 passengers passed through Will Rogers' terminals, airport statistics show, up about 5,000 people from the same period a year earlier.

In a year-to-year comparison, passenger traffic started down in January by nearly 4 percent, with numbers improving into May with a 6-percent increase. June showed a dip with a nearly 3-percent loss compared with June 2009.

In Tulsa, total traffic for the first half of the year is down overall by about 2 percent, airport spokeswoman Alexis Higgins said. Figures for June will not be available until Thursday when they're presented to the board of directors, she said. While Oklahoma City has seen a rebound from industry capacity cutbacks, the same doesn't seem to be true in Tulsa.

"There are fewer seats in our market than there was last year and whenever that happens you see some of the demand go away because people can't fly out when they want to so they find alternate transportation," Higgins said. …

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