View Full Version : Summer air traffic increases dramatically

07-19-2007, 07:11 AM
Airlines taking off with full planes, setting records this summerRelated Information

Business Writer

June hadn't even started when the airline industry and airports around the nation started gearing up for the busiest summer of air travel.
Despite rising airfares, the industry expected for planes to be full as more travelers opted for the skies to get to their destinations.

Now, halfway through the summer travel season, the question remains: Is this summer really all it was expected to be?

"I would say so, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said. "We have set load-factor records in both May and June.

"We have a lot of passengers flying on us, that's for sure.

American Airlines boarded 25,538 passengers out of Will Rogers in May, a 14.2 percent increase from the year before. The following month, the Dallas-based airline boarded another 24,632 travelers from Oklahoma City.

Traffic out of Will Rogers has steadily increased about 5 percent for the last few years, and this summer has been no different, airport director Mark Kranenburg said.

"We've had really good months the last few months, he said. "We've seen some significant load increases.

Kranenburg said new nonstops have boosted travel capacity while also boosting load factors.

ExpressJet Airlines added six new flights in the spring. The Houston-based carrier's loads have continued to increase. In May the airline boarded 2,383 passengers in Oklahoma City. A month later, those figures increased by more than 150 percent. Additional service is still to come this summer when Southwest Airlines adds a nonstop flight to the Washington, D.C., area beginning Aug. 4.

Although Delta Airlines converted several flights from domestic to international, the Atlanta-based airline's load factors are up 1.7 percent this summer, spokesman Anthony Black said. He said revenue miles are also up 4.2 percent.

"We are carrying more people and we're carrying them farther, Black said.

Passenger loads in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton all increased last month. Will Rogers had a 6.25 percent increase in boardings from the year before, with 179,588 travelers in June. Tulsa had a 3.81 percent increase, with 156,646 travelers. Lawton Fort-Sill Regional Airport boarded 4,836 travelers, a 16.6 percent increase from June 2006.

"I think the majority of this increase is that we have the seats now, Lawton airport manager Barbara McNally said. The southwestern airport added two new 44-seat regional jets June 14.

Southwest Spokesman Chris Mainz said summer is typically a busy travel season, and expects for that trend to continue in the future.

"It seems like it increases year over year, he said. "It's been a very busy summer.

Mainz said this summer's higher gas prices have also encouraged people to fly. The national average for unleaded gas was $3.04 Tuesday, compared to $2.96 last year. Oklahoma's average has continued to stay above the nation's average. Tuesday, the state's price for unleaded was $3.13, compared to $2.833 last year.

"That absolutely has contributed to a busy travel summer, Mainz said.

He said although Southwest has had two airfare increases this year, many travelers are still choosing flying over driving.

"A lot of times, it just makes sense for them to just jump on a flight instead of driving, Mainz said.

AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said the price of gas pushes people to investigate costs when they do travel plans. Mai said though driving to regional destinations is typically cheaper than flying, going to distant destinations may may call for checking airfares.

"When you are looking at Florida or D.C., then flying may be the cheaper way to go, he said.

Alexis Higgins, Tulsa International Airport spokeswoman, said even when airfare is slightly more expensive than gas, some people still opt for the skies.

"Sometimes it's worth the convenience to pay a little bit more, she said.

07-19-2007, 08:38 AM
Good post bets. I heard about this the other day. The official response from both airports was "we don't know what caused it". It seems to me a director of an airport should know and if they can't they should be finding out why such an increase. Anyhow, since the post is new, you may want to edit it as it seems you copied a bunch of the ads that were on the Daily O's website.

07-21-2007, 09:41 PM
I hope OKC really takes off and gets more than 4M pax this year.

I hope we are on track, because with that number and the Sonics/Storm coming to town and the additional business and visits that would bring - OKC no doubt would get additional flights (and many more mainliners).

We need more city pairs. Here is my list below, based on the particular airline(s) route structure. Changes are noted by a *.

ORD *need United mainline flight(s) tho
LAX *need a United mainline flight tho
IAD *I am sure this route will be successful and that an A319 will be added to join the route
SFO *we need SFO service
SEA *a few times a week direct via SFO or NS would be nice!

ORD *need mainliner flight tho
MIA *at least once a week flight plz
LAX *with LA expansion, I dont see this too far off

Salt Lake *perhaps a mainline Delta flight is not too far away???
LAX (is coming, should do very well)

DEN (coming soon, but I doubt it will be long term successful)
BWI (coming very soon and should do well, esp with advertising)
MDW *why on earth we dont have Chicago Midway nonstop is beyond me...
LAX *im surprised this route doesnt exist yet
OAK *I think this route would work, giving us another Bay area option

Minneapolis *isnt it time for a mainliner tho
SEA *this might be an opportunity for a once a week flight, since SEA is a focus city

they are a only a shell of their former self. Do they fly anywhere else anymore?

US Airways
PHX *need mainliner tho
CHarlotte *im surprised no route developed here yet, should be at least once a week
CLE *ditto above

DEN *and we get our A319 back soon, hopefully it will do well and we'll get another

Alaska *
SEA *im surprised there is not at least once a week flight already given SEA is the primary hub
LAX *this route could also be supported, esp since the LAX-OKC route is taking off and LAX is a small hub for Alaska

Midwest *
*this could be OKC's opportunity to develop a mini hub operation

Jet Blue *
JFK *it would be sweet to get at least one flight a week with this route

Airtran *
ATL *Im surprised they aren't here yet, they are in ICT and apparently are doing ok, and Delta's ATL-OKC route is far from properly served

MCO *maybe Expressjet can make this route work
TUL *why dont they do a daily short hop or two on the OKC-TUL route, should be profitable, esp when the Sonics come to town

A new airline based in OKC
why doesn't someone start an airline based in OKC, that gives us access to all of the top markets. Im not talking about the Great Plains Airlines TULSA model, Im taking about:

OKC to:
JFK (or EWR)
LAX (or some other LA area airport)
LAS (more than just a late night flight)
LIT (could be via MEM to support the route)
TUL (and none of this Tulsa hub crap, just point service)

with these city pairs and the right price point (and fuel efficient planes), Im sure pax would go for this OKC hubbed airline given its central location and the fact that no flight would be longer than 4 hours long.

07-22-2007, 10:08 AM
Good post bets. I heard about this the other day. The official response from both airports was "we don't know what caused it". It seems to me a director of an airport should know and if they can't they should be finding out why such an increase. Anyhow, since the post is new, you may want to edit it as it seems you copied a bunch of the ads that were on the Daily O's website.

Agree to some point here. Common sense in the industry is that it is summer at the top of the one of the roller coaster hills. The numbers will start to slide Sept and Oct before going back up. Typical seasonal stuff.

I would say the other factor is that traffic is finally meeting up with capacity. We've been pretty static in the number of seats on most routes (the new ones excluded)...and passenger demand has finally caught up. This is good news since we have gone through 2-3 air fare hikes over the last few months and the pax are still coming.

HOT ROD...couple thoughts on you stuff...

United - agree on SFO need, ORD mainline will wait until slot situation is cleared.

AA - I think the failure of the Florida routes attempted out of here have scared AA off running MIA for now. ORD - same issue as UA.

DL - SLC, I doubt we'll see mainline on this route again in the near future.
Southwest - Blah, they will do what they want.

NW - We should see capacity bumps with their 70 & 90 seater small jets coming on line.

Continental - 2 daily to CLE are on the way, more details soon.

US - CLE is just a point on their network. PHL won't happen for awhile. CLT...probably 2009. They have no intention of going the midwest west and central cities until the late 2008 or 2009 time period.

Alaska - Hopefully soon is all i can say.

Midwest - Not going to happen. AirTran holds most of the cards finally and will get their way. The merger plans indicate they will grow Kansas City and Milwaukee but shut down the Omaha hub.

AirTran - They will announce one more city this year...

ExpressJet - No on Tulsa. Way too expensive to fly a jet on. Would like to see them move into Florida a bit more, but they are careful not to mess around in big brothers backyard too much. I personally would like to see the routes stay the same, and just increase frequencies or get better timed flights.

We can discuss the OKC-based airline elsewhere as it would take too long. LOL

07-22-2007, 10:13 AM
Here is the information on Continental...Starts in October

Flight 2093 OKC-CLE 645a - 1017a ERJ Ex Sat/Sun
Flight 2093 OKC-CLE 800a - 1132a ERJ Sat Only
Flight 2244 OKC-CLE 1108a - 1439a ERJ Ex Sat/Sun

Flight 2015 CLE-OKC 850a - 1038a ERJ Ex Sat/Sun
Flight 5829 CLE-OKC 920a - 1108a ERJ Sat Only
Flight 2440 CLE-OKC 840p - 1028p ERJ Ex Sat

07-22-2007, 05:37 PM
NICE, Cleveland!!!!

WOW - 2 nonstops on weekdays, 1 on weekends. NICE! It's interesting we're getting CLE service via CAL before we even get CLT via USAirways. ..

So now we have nonstops to 25 major cities!!!

Baltimore (coming)
Cleveland (coming)
Kansas City
Las Vegas
Los Angeles (LAX, Ontario)
New York (EWR)
Saint Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
Washington (IAD)

Now we only need nonstop and/or direct to 18 new markets/cities that I can think of:

Billings (Air Midwest?, Expressjet?)
Boston (???)
Charlotte (US Airways)
Chicago MDW (Southwest, Airtran, ATA) *
Colorado Springs (?? United Express)
El Paso (Southwest)
Little Rock (Expressjet)
Mexico City (Mexicana, Aeromex)
Miami (American or American Eagle)
Milwaukee (Midwest Air)
Nashville (American Eagle)
New Orleans (Southwest)
New York JFK (Jet Blue, American) *
Orlando (Southwest, Alliegent, Airtran [maybe direct])
Portland (Delta [direct], Horizon)
San Francisco ([SFO]-United, [OAK]-Southwest)
Seattle (Alaska, Horizon, United [direct via SFO or DEN or LAX or ORD], Northwest [direct via MSP])
Toronto (Air Canada. Jazz)
Tulsa (Expressjet)
Vancouver (Air Canada, Jazz)
Washington DCA (US Airways) *
Wichita (Expressjet)

*indicates additional service to another airport in market already served

07-22-2007, 10:03 PM
Just returned from a trip to CLE, a non stop would have been nice.

My last few flights have been on NW, and I have to say it would be nice to get a capacity bump from them. Every flight has been jam packed (46-50 pax) including several oversold situations. Right now, we are just served by Pinnacle, which has the 50 seater CRJ. Occasionally, Northwest rotates in a DC-9. I'd LOVE to see Mesaba back with their CRJ 900's, (although I miss the Avro's) or even better Compass has the Embraer 175's.

We can also add Puerto Vallarta to our non stop list, although it's just seasonal.

07-22-2007, 10:39 PM
I think we have a decent shot at getting the 175s here...I'd rather have those than the CRJ-900s. Much more room inside, even if there are fewer seats. Like you, and everyone else, I miss the Avros...the scope restrictions at NW definitely allowed for a great seat pitch.

07-23-2007, 04:13 AM
So now we have nonstops to 26 major cities!!! And counting, ....

Baltimore (BWI coming)
Chicago (ORD)
Cleveland (coming)
Dallas (DAL, DFW)
Houston (HOU, IAH)
Kansas City
Las Vegas
Los Angeles (LAX, Ontario)
New York (EWR)
Puerto Vallarta
Saint Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
Washington (IAD)

Thanks Chris, oh - Seasonal nonstops are still nonstops nonetheless, as are weekly only flights. Hey, if we have service to a city/market and it is nonstop - then it belongs on our list.

26 markets, NOT BAD Oklahoma City!!!!!!

07-23-2007, 08:42 PM
I have a couple of questions for you airline gurus:

1) Why does everyone keep mentioning American and JetBlue as the options for NY-JFK? It is actually a Delta hub. Delta is getting ready to add OKC-LAX. Why didn't they add OKC-JFK also (or instead)?

2) How big of a problem do you think it is that Southwest is adding 2 mainline jets to Denver? Will we lose the Frontier mainline because of it? Will United replace a few more mainlines? What do you think will happen?

3) Why is American showing us no love with additional destinations or mainline service to Chicago? Service up over 14% YOY, and we still get nothing from them?

4) How will the new nonstops to LAX and Ontario (Delta and XJet) effect the future viability of this market, considering it is so new?

07-23-2007, 09:24 PM
brian, I can try 1).

JFK is hubbed by Jet Blue, so that ist why I had suggested them to fly that route.

I dont know if Delta has a hub at JFK nor American. I think they only have international gateway service via JFK.

I think Los Angeles is a focus city for Delta now, ever since United has long made LAX upgraded from focus/international gateway to HUB several years ago. And since United is expanding LAX's role to more of a domestic hub, OKC got the route.

I do concurr with you regarding Chicago. I think we are way UNDERSERVED with the ORD-OKC and MDW-OKC routes. Im so surprised no one has even done the MDW-OKC on a regular basis yet.

07-23-2007, 10:53 PM opinion...

1) Like HR said, JFK is a hub for JetBlue. It is also a major connecting hub for One World (AA, BA, etc). The Delta presence there is nominal, but nothing close to JetBlue.

2) If Southwest comes in and tries to kill yeilds on the route, it can definitely hurt Frontier a lot. However, hopefully product quality can win out here and Southwest is saved for the typical cattle car crowd.

3) MIA was looked at, but backed away. The failure of Florida routes from OKC recently doesn't help. As far as Chicago. Don't expect anything until 2010 when the slots finally go away. OKC is restricted to using the RJ slots now, hence why we have the 50-seaters.

4) The LAX and Ontario flights should be timed enough apart to not have much effect on each other. We'll have to wait and see.

07-24-2007, 07:43 AM
Can one of you explain the slots thing regarding ORD? We are stuck with RJs on both United and American to ORD until 2010? Not even if demand warrants it, neither could add a mainline right now?

I just flew Delta this weekend. They have a large hub at JFK (and say, "our hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, and New York JFK"). When looking at their route maps, it appears to have just as many routes as the Cincinnati hub, and growing.

07-24-2007, 06:44 PM
it has to do with the fact that ORD is regulated airspace due to runway configurations, noise, and the number of customers (airlines and pax).

ORD, DCA (Washington National), and LGA (New York Laguardia) are regulated for these (and other) reasons, including national security.

In ORD's case, the slots are mostly for safety so there are no problems with airplane spacing and ramp capacity.

ORD is going thru a MAJOR capacity increase which will allow them to go from the current 77M pax a year up to 140M pax by around 1012, mainly via runway reconfigurations and a new terminal (to make 5). We'd likely see flight improvements by 2010 tho, once there are at least 4 parallel runways going E-W and Air Cargo gets their own dedicated runway.

That's what I know, Im sure Venture and/or OUman can elaborate further if I missed something.

07-24-2007, 07:05 PM
HR hit most of it. To dive in a bit more on the aircraft type...

ORD has a few different types of slots, as do other restricted airports. It involves heavy aircraft, "normal" sized jetliners, regional jets, and turboprops. It is all based around aircraft speed, size, wake turbulence, and airport capacity. Airlines typically have to weigh how to maximize the amount of feed into the city with the slots they have. This automatically makes the larger jet slots much more valuable. They will use those for high O&D and/or yeild cities. Yes...some of these routes have passenger numbers lower than RJ routes....but they yeild much more money.

That is probably one reason for OKC-ORD being all RJ. The other will be the ability to control yeilds. One of American's most profitable RJ markets is a city in the midwest that only has 4 flights a day. The market has an actual demand of around 1000 passengers a day or so, but they only offer 200 seats. Why? They can easily get $250+ out of a passenger for the Chicago trip...not bad for only a 200 mile trip.

I think we'll see mainline service return to Chicago someday, but it'll be awhile. Remember, AA was all mainline to Chicago about 5-7 years ago. Unfortunately once they eliminated their 100-seat airplane, we got downgraded.