Kansas City Airport Hit by Passenger Declines, Lambert Sees Increase

Airport passenger traffic has decreased at Kansas City International (KCI) Airport by more than eight percent since May, while Lambert-St. Louis Airport is seeing an increase in its passenger numbers.

The Kansas City Star reported August 23 that the KCI decrease is attributed to airlines cutting the number of seats available during the past three months, a statistic which was also down this summer. As lower numbers of seats are available, fares tend to rise.

The Kansas City numbers contrast with what’s happening at the other end of the state. John Bales, Director of Aviation for St. Louis County, sits on the airport commission and said passenger traffic numbers are slightly ahead of 2011 in St. Louis and continue to increase at both Lambert-St. Louis Airport (STL) and Spirit of St. Louis Airport.

Jeff Lea, Spokesperson and Public Relations Manager for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, says that Lambert saw a 2.3 percent increase in its enplanements so far this year, with 3.1 million people boarding or leaving a plane out of St. Louis.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports average fares based on domestic itinerary fares, providing an average fare comparison for Kansas City International Airport and St. Louis-Lambert Airport during Q1 of 2012. Looking at 73 airports, KCI had a more expensive fare than STL for 44 percent of its destinations. Thirty-seven percent of fares for STL were still above the average fare for each destination.

As airline prices increase, St. Louis’s positive passenger traffic raises have the potential to change.

“I’m not sure if we’ve seen it yet, that may bare out in the coming months as prices go up,” Lea said. “But in the last year and a half, we have shown a good uptick in our passenger activity.”

Looking at Missouri as a destination, flights originating in St. Louis have increased 1 percent in June 2012 compared to June 2011, with only 15 percent of flights connecting there.

Columbia Regional Airport fluctuates with this pattern, seeing a decline in Q1 but an increase for Q2. The site just added another destination to Orlando, Fl. that will begin Nov. 20, 2012.


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