The peak summer travel season is in full swing at our airport and it's promising to get even busier ......
In June, July, and August, Allegiant Air is growing its Springfield flight schedule by a total of 57% over the same three month period last year (222 flights this year, vs. 141 last summer). This growth comes after a banner 2014 when passenger numbers at the Springfield airport grew at an annual clip of 12%.
Allegiant flights to Orlando get the biggest bump. In June the airline will fly between Springfield and Orlando six days a week. That’s up from four days a week last June.
The increase in the Allegiant schedule will probably give the airport double digit passenger growth in June, July and August. It’s a strong indicator of continued improvement in the regional and national economies. People wouldn’t be buying Allegiant’s vacation packages in numbers like this if their budgets were hurting.
Not to be left out, the other Springfield airlines are bringing bigger planes to Springfield. American, Delta, and United are all shedding some of their 50-seat regional jets:
Delta's bringing in an Airbus 319 (126 sets) for one its four daily flights to Atlanta
American begins using Bombardier CRJ-900s (76 seats) for two of its seven daily flights to Dallas
United begins using Bombardier CRJ-700s (66 seats) for two of its four daily flights to Chicago
Here’s the bottom line: this summer the airlines will shed a total of seven 50-seat jets from their Springfield schedules. That’s good for a couple of reasons. Number one: the airlines wouldn’t bring bigger jets here if they couldn’t fill them. It shows that demand for air travel in Springfield is high. The second reason is comfort. Many people hate 50-seat jets because they’re cramped and stuffy. So the bigger planes are a welcome relief.
Some 50-seaters will probably come back as the summer travel season winds down. But some may stick around. Airline schedules for the fall are preliminary at this point, but they all show some bigger planes in the mix.
Why does all this matter? The growth is passengers (and flights) means that airport passenger numbers are trending up. Not just month to month, but year to year. After the uncertainty of the recession, this trend is very welcome news — not just for the airport, but for the local economy and travelers.