GSP International Airport Shows Drop in Air Fares During Fourth Quarter of 2013

April 30--Efforts to improve air service at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport received some positive reinforcement on Tuesday.

A new report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed air fares at GSP fell 7 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013 to an average of $371.99 per ticket, compared to $399.96 per ticket during the same quarter a year ago.

The airport's customers on average paid nearly $10 less during the quarter than the national domestic average of $381.05, according to the report.

"Lower fares and GSP International Airport what a sweet combination," Dave Edwards, president and CEO of GSP, said in a statement. "This latest air fare report is great news for the community, and we are all looking forward to this trend continuing."

GSP was 63rd out of 100 domestic airports ranked by their itinerary fare in the report. Huntsville International Airport in Alabama was at the top of the list with an average of $527.52 per ticket during the fourth quarter of last year. The lowest average was $248.63 at Long Beach Airport in California.

The report showed just how far GSP's ticket prices have decreased over the last 13 years -- over 42 percent from $644.21 during the fourth quarter of 2000.

Numbers provided by GSP showed that the airport's passenger traffic has increased during that same span to more than 1.8 million customers in 2013, a 15 percent jump from almost 1.6 million in 2000.

"I think what this indicates is a real team effort with the community in helping to attract and secure new low fare air service," GSP spokeswoman Rosylin Weston said. "In addition, it has been the competitive response from other airlines that recognize the importance of bringing the best air service to the airport."

The largest jump in passenger traffic was recorded after Southwest's arrival in March 2011. Nearly 1.8 million customers flew out of GSP in 2011, a more than 38 percent increase from almost 1.3 million in 2010.

Air fares fell almost 10 percent from $435.70 per ticket at the end of 2010 to $392.68 by the end of 2011, according to the report.

GSP said its carriers, which include Allegiant, Southwest, American Eagle, Delta, United Express and US Airways, currently offer 53 nonstop daily departures to 18 major cities and 22 airports across the country.

The airport is nearing the second phase of its three-part main terminal renovation, called project WINGSPAN. The $120 million project is aimed at modernizing the 52-year-old facility and improving the customer experience.

"When you couple (lower) fares with our efforts to make this airport even more convenient than it has been in the past, it's very exciting," Weston said. "Not everyone is going to find the ideal fare for them. But what it does mean is that more and more people are finding our fares to be lower or at least competitive with other regional airports. It gives us the opportunity to be the airport of choice for customers in the Upstate."

For more information, visit: www.elevatingtheupstate.com.

Copyright 2014 - Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, S.C.

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