Drop in airline traffic could affect budgets

April 16, 2009


Apr. 16--A dismal number of passenger departures in March at Oklahoma's two major airports reflect a decrease in business travel and seat capacity, airport representatives said.

Travel from Tulsa International Airport was down more than 19 percent from last year, and is at its lowest level in several years, said Alexis Higgins, an airport spokeswoman.

Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City reported a nearly 15 percent drop in departures.

March typically begins the busy travel season. Higgins said airline managers were reporting full loads during Spring Break, but that business travel had subsided dramatically.

She said the addition of a United Airlines flight to Los Angeles, which adds 60 seats per day, should bring a boost of traffic when it comes in June.

"The economy, too, will hopefully be in a better position and people will feel more comfortable spending those dollars," she said.

Mark Kranenburg, director of airports for Oklahoma City, said the decrease in passengers at Will Rogers World Airport reflects airline cutbacks.

The airport is analyzing the effect of those reductions on next year's budget, he said.

"We know there's a reduction in revenues because not as many people are flying," he said. "We just don't know how it's going to shake out yet."