San Francisco only major US airport exceeding 5% growth every month this year

Image: Virgin America ribbon-cutting
San Francisco is the only major US airport to have exceeded 5% growth every month this year. Virgin America launched San Francisco-San Diego services in February. “As California’s home-town airline, we’re bringing cutting-edge technology and the best in entertainment to the skies and we’re thrilled to now link two of the state’s most beautiful cities,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “We think that San Diegans will find that stepping on to a Virgin America plane is unlike any flight experience they’ve had before.”

Analysis of monthly passenger traffic data as published by the airports themselves reveals that nine of the top 20 US airports are reporting a downturn in traffic in their latest monthly year-to-date traffic summaries. This is up from seven airports when last examined these figures three months ago.

Chart: Top 10 airports
Source: Airport websites

Among the top 10 busiest airports traffic is down at half of them. Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix airports have all been less busy in the first half of 2008 despite the extra day in February. Orlando, which saw traffic growth of 7.8% in the first quarter, has seen traffic fall in each of the last three months, though year-to-date growth is still positive.

Chart: Other major airports growth
Source: Airport websites

Among the next 10 busiest airports Minneapolis/St. Paul and Newark have now joined Boston and New York LaGuardia in reporting a fall in year-to-date traffic. San Francisco, Seattle and Charlotte are the only airports here that have reported year-to-date growth rates of over 5%.

July traffic down for 11 of biggest 24 airports

Of 24 major airports for which data has been collected passenger numbers in July were down at 11 of them. So far only 16 of these airports have reported data for August. Traffic is up at only four of them – Charlotte  (+4.3%), Seattle (+2.8%), Denver (+1.6%) and Miami (+0.1%).


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