Fewer Flights, But More Passengers through Springfield in 2012

Jan 22, 2013

A new report shows total passengers flying in and out of Springfield-Branson National Airport grew by 2.8 percent in 2012 from the previous year. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.

While there were more passengers, revenue at the airport was basically flat because of fewer flights, says airport Spokesman Kent Boyd.

“While there are fewer planes, the airlines are filling them. And everybody who flies out of here knows that the typical flight that leaves here is about 82 percent full. Before the recession the airlines were happy if it was anywhere between 50 and 75 percent full,” Boyd says.

He says passenger numbers have lacked consistency over the past five years, making it tough to predict growth.

“Historically, when you look at airport numbers, there’s sort of a leading economic indicator,” Boyd says.  “In other words, if you see numbers at airports start to go down or up, you know that in five or six months the economy is going to start to follow. During this recession it’s just sort of all been broken. Numbers go down, numbers go up, and you never know quite where you’re going to end up.”

American Eagle remains Springfield’s largest carrier, transporting a total of 246,167 people in 2012, up nearly eight percent from the year before. Delta Airlines saw the second-most passengers in and out of Springfield, followed by United.

Boyd says Springfield-Branson National Airport operates under an annual budget of about $12 million.  

Tuesday’s figures come after Lambert Airport in St. Louis reported an increase in 2012 of more than one percent in both departing and arriving passengers over 2011.