Jean Leloup
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What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:10 pm

Hello,

Interesting question occurred to me today. Apologies in advance, as usual, if this topic has been recently discussed - but we all know how well the seach function works.

I was reading that STL peaked with a passenger count of 30.6 million in the year 2000, at which time TWA was apparently at its largest (although by no means healthiest) at Lambert. The successive shocks of TWA's demise and the decline of the industry as a whole brought on by 9/11 conspired to ensure that numbers declined quite rapidly thereafter, and the subsequent financial crisis pushed things even further, to the point where on 12.3 million passengers were seen in 2010, a decline of over 18 million passengers over ten years.

Fortunately, it looks like the last three years have seem some growth steadily coming back, which is not surprising.

But my question is, has any airport ever seen as big a loss as STL in terms of passengers?

For obvious reasons, I think we should only include airports that are still open to commercial service.

Interested to hear of any other major examples.

JL
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european742
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:17 pm

Durham Tees Valley in England has suffered a pretty big loss, passengers numbers peaked in 2006 with 917,000 passengers, at that point bmi baby had 2 737s based there, Eastern Airways flew 4 times daily to Aberdeen, KLM Cityhopper 3 times daily to Amsterdam and bmi 4 times daily to LHR and about 5 charters a week. Now all thats left is the Eastern Airways and KLM Cityhopper services with a once weekly summer service by Flybe to Jersey. 2013 saw around 160,000 passengers, the lowest number since 1972.
 
rampart
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:24 am

At its (abnormal) peak during WestPac and the WestPac Effect (all the other airlines adding similar service), COS had something over 5 million passengers in 1995 or 1996. It's now down to a bit over 800,000, 16% of its peak. I can't find the exact 1996 statistics, however.

-Rampart
 
point2point
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:33 am

I'm sure that PIT has to rank somewhere up there, but I'll let the PIT group provide the necessary stats and info (I'm not in a Wiki/research mood right now) that are needed here.......

 

[Edited 2014-02-18 16:33:58]
 
PITrules
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:44 am

Quoting point2point (Reply 3):
I'm sure that PIT has to rank somewhere up there, but I'll let the PIT group provide the necessary stats and info (I'm not in a Wiki/research mood right now) that are needed here.......

Indeed PIT would be on the list (high 20.5 million, low 7.9 million last year). However I believe CVG actually has a greater discrepancy with a high of approx 25 million, and low of about 6 million - and its still a hub.
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777STL
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:30 am

I don't think you're going to find any airport with a larger loss than STL, both absolute and relative %.
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prosa
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:35 am

Where does MEM stand?
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globetrotter29
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:08 am

In terms of non-hub airports, PVD has been hammered by cuts. Peaked at 5.7 million passengers in 2005 to 3.6 million in 2012. That's a 38% decease.
 
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vatveng
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:32 am

Since the loss of AirTran, Newport News has lost nearly 50% of its peak 2011 traffic.

http://www.flyphf.com/content/index.php/stats.html

2012 is the most recent full-year stat they have released, 2013 numbers are not yet available but in November they said in a press release that their traffic was down 16% YTD, so using that to estimate 2013 traffic I came up with approx. 539,000 pax. That's a 49% drop from their 2011 peak of 1,063,000 pax. Half their passengers gone in two years.

With the loss of competition, DL drastically cut their PHF service, and Frontier went from daily year-round DEN service to seasonal 4x weekly, although they're back to 6x weekly and starting Apple Vacations flights to CUN. And Allegiant service is down to 2x weekly.
 
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:34 am

Quoting 777stl (Reply 5):
I don't think you're going to find any airport with a larger loss than STL, both absolute and relative %.

I think MDW would win the prize for the largest decline in traffic. For quite a few years it was the busiest airport in the U.S. and I believe earlier it was also the world's busiest airport in its very early years. By the early to mid-1960s after everyone had moved to ORD, MDW was virtually deserted. According to Wikipedia, in 1966 the only fixed-wing scheduled flights at MDW were 4 UA 727s a day (also some scheduled helicopter flights).

Even by 1979, according to the November 15, 1979 OAG, MDW only had 16 departures a day to 4 cities on 2 carriers (14 on Midway Airlines and 2 on DL, all DC-9s).

Now MDW is handling about 20 million passengers a year.

[Edited 2014-02-18 18:50:46]

[Edited 2014-02-18 18:54:38]
 
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knope2001
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:45 am

Quoting PROSA (Reply 6):

Where does MEM stand?

Can't quite find the details but do find references saying Memphis peaked at 11 million. The most recent month available (December) has just over 300k total passengers, and additional cuts have come since then. So we might be looking at about 3.0 to 3.5 million annual passengers for Memphis, a loss of around 70% from peak depending on just where things bottom out.

Cincinnati appears to have peaked at 22.8 million in 2005. 2013 had 5.7 million, off about 75% from peak.

St Louis appears to have peaked at 30.6 million in 2000. I don't find 2013 yet but 2012 had 12.7 million, off about 58%.

Pittsburgh peaked in 1997 at 20.8 million. 2012 had 8.0million, off about 62% from peak.
 
EddieDude
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:52 am

I would love to see statistics of how TLC went from general aviation to booming hub for LCCs, and then how it declined again when the LCCs that had set up bases there moved a substantial chunk of their ops to MEX following the demise of MX. The number of pax must have fluctuated a lot.
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brilondon
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:13 am

A quick look at wikipedia makes CVG one of the largest decline in the US. I don't really have the time to do a detailed analysis of this but I suspect that CVG has the largest loss in passengers and movements.
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737tdi
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:55 am

I think the numbers that are being put out are a little bit skewed. Why, because a lot more people fly in 2014 then flew in 2000 or 1980. I think it would take a ton of research to answer this question. Percentage loss is really not a good indicator, IMO. Maybe if you were to correlate the numbers relative to passengers enplaned in comparison to airlines flying v ???. This is how all of the worlds greatest advertisers skew their numbers. They take a small sample and compare it/massage it advantageously to a positive outcome.

In other words: Compare DAL to what it was and what it is now. You can use numbers like: What percentage of passengers flew out of DAL in 1960 to the percentage of passengers in comparison to DFW now.

Your question is really not a question that can really be answered. Take a little airport like Grayson County Airport, they had passenger service but no longer do. That is 100% loss.



I really do know what you are seeking but remember the numbers can be manipulated from year to year, decade to decade.
 
Beatyair
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:35 am

Memphis is a ghost town.

It is amazing what happens at these airports. Some of them are planning expansions to there terminals and adding runways because things are going well and then comes a merger and the airline desides to move most of its operations.
Wow! Build a bigger house and the kids grow up on you.
 
737tdi
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:27 am

Quoting beatyair (Reply 14):
Wow! Build a bigger house and the kids grow up on you.

That is a very good analogy. Build for the future but the future is never set in stone. Memphis is not really a good example. It is too far east. STL and MCI are. Farther north and west. In my opinion STL would be the ultimate interlocking connection. It meets the standards of LGA and DCA and allows for tons of in and out. The problem with STL or MCI is their terminals are horrible. STL is better now but MCI? Nope. Worst terminal in the Midwest. I visit these terminals as a mech. and as a person who needs to eat. neither one have decent spots. STL does have a Chilis but their breakfast is so so.



People at the airport do have to eat. It is kind of important to life. A few really decent places to eat would be a positive. A great hamburger or taco. Something.... I have to say that HOU has Pappas burger which is awesome.

IMO it is a matter of supplying the customer, if you fly a lot you will find where you want to connect.



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rampart
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:31 am

Quoting vatveng (Reply 8):
the loss of AirTran, Newport News has lost nearly 50% of its peak 2011 traffic.
Quoting knope2001 (Reply 10):
So we might be looking at about 3.0 to 3.5 million annual passengers for Memphis, a loss of around 70% from peak depending on just where things bottom out.
Quoting globetrotter29 (Reply 7):

In terms of non-hub airports, PVD has been hammered by cuts. Peaked at 5.7 million passengers in 2005 to 3.6 million in 2012. That's a 38% decease.

So far. nothing is exceeding the 84% drop at COS that I mentioned earlier:

Quoting rampart (Reply 2):
It's now down to a bit over 800,000, 16% of its peak.
 
iah59
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:42 am

What about Karachi Airport?
 
DrColenzo
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:07 pm

That was a good question and there are some good answers.

Durham Tees Valley and also Humberside Airport were in my view victims of political changes; Tony Blair had his parliamentary seat in Sedgefieild, County Durham and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was based in Hull, Humberside (or whatever the county is called now   )

The rapid fall off in traffic appears to coincide with the cancellation of regularly London flights after the change from Blair to Brown as Prime Minister - these guys has huge entourages and hangers on. At the time, there was a drop off in traffic at a number of non London Airports, such as Manchester and Glasgow and so this could be part of the same trend...

However, Gordon Brown was from Edinburgh and lo and behold...

Traffic remained steady at Edinburgh Airport during a period of universal decline in passenger numbers and only reduced slightly in 2010, when Brown left office!!!!

'Socialists', eh?
 
gulfstream650
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:05 pm

CVG has to be on the list.

It is like a ghost town
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FWA2500
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:02 pm

CVG for sure, compared to the early 2000s where we had daily flights to multiple European cities and direct flights all over the country it has next to nothing now. I was also shocked when I visited PIT, there were no more than three aircraft on the ground over the 3 hour period I was on the ground there not counting military.
 
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Boeing717200
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:21 pm

In terms of total Enplanements lost (all US Airports):

St. Louis – 9.4. Peak year was 2000.


In terms of percentage of Enplanements lost:


Cincinnati – 74.2%. Peak year was 2005.


The later stat has a greater impact to the airport overall.

[Edited 2014-02-19 09:22:35]

[Edited 2014-02-19 09:23:14]
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777STL
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:30 pm

Quoting rampart (Reply 16):
So far. nothing is exceeding the 84% drop at COS that I mentioned earlier:

Then again, losing 18 million pax is a bit more catastrophic than losing 4 million pax, no?
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rwessel
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:58 pm

Historically there are some additional possibilities. MDW went from 345K airline operations in 1959 to 4,427 in 1967 as most traffic moved to ORD (roughly a 98.7% decrease). It's come back to about 250K since then.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:11 pm

Quoting PITrules (Reply 4):
Indeed PIT would be on the list (high 20.5 million, low 7.9 million last year). However I believe CVG actually has a greater discrepancy with a high of approx 25 million, and low of about 6 million - and its still a hub.

STL, PIT, CVG, MEM and CLE definitely belong on the list. How is RDU doing?

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 21):
Cincinnati – 74.2%. Peak year was 2005.

  

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 10):
Can't quite find the details but do find references saying Memphis peaked at 11 million. The most recent month available (December) has just over 300k total passengers, and additional cuts have come since then. So we might be looking at about 3.0 to 3.5 million annual passengers for Memphis, a loss of around 70% from peak depending on just where things bottom out.

Thank you. That is free fall... So much for a housing bubble...


Lightsaber
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tyler81190
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:20 pm

In terms of service, MCI would be towards the top... Having gained and lost a few hubs over the years, many other airlines...
 
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adamh8297
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:23 pm

You are missing an obvious one currently: DAM it is still open to Syrian Air

[Edited 2014-02-19 12:24:13]
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malaysia
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:46 pm

Did all those airlines that left OAK around 2008 AQ, TZ, CO, AA, and later UA, and the US/B6 reduction ever affect numbers, or WN was still maintaining balance?

I know HA came in and AS might have added flights though
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MountainFlyer
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:13 pm

Quoting 777stl (Reply 22):

Then again, losing 18 million pax is a bit more catastrophic than losing 4 million pax, no?


Not necessarily. Like others have alluded to, percentages can be a bigger impact. If ATL (more than 90 mil pax in 2012) lost 18 million pax it would not be as catastrophic as if say ATL would hurt because of it, but nothing like SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
 
milesrich
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:25 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 9):
I don't think you're going to find any airport with a larger loss than STL, both absolute and relative %.

I think MDW would win the prize for the largest decline in traffic. For quite a few years it was the busiest airport in the U.S. and I believe earlier it was also the world's busiest airport in its very early years. By the early to mid-1960s after everyone had moved to ORD, MDW was virtually deserted. According to Wikipedia, in 1966 the only fixed-wing scheduled flights at MDW were 4 UA 727s a day (also some scheduled helicopter flights).

Even by 1979, according to the November 15, 1979 OAG, MDW only had 16 departures a day to 4 cities on 2 carriers (14 on Midway Airlines and 2 on DL, all DC-9s).

Now MDW is handling about 20 million passengers a year.

I think Midway is a poor comparison. In March of 1962, the new terminal complex at ORD opened and all flights to Midway were moved to ORD. In June of that year, a United Viscount operated what was thought to be at the time, the last airline operation from Midway, when it took off for Toledo. Three years later, United introduced the 727 to MDW with two flights a day to LGA, along with Viscount Service that operated twice a day, CID-MLI-MDW-DCA. Only two UA gates were open in the entire airport. But in 1962, the plan was to move all flights to ORD, just like in 1972 when all flights at MKC were moved to MCI.

STL was not closed. No new airport took the traffic. STL was a hub airport for connecting flights long before deregulation. Ozark was its resident regional, TWA was the largest trunk carrier, along with American who had a sizeable operation, and smaller scheudules operated by Eastern, Delta, Braniff and Central/Frontier. With deregulation, both Ozark and TWA established hubs, and then merged. As stated before, Lambert has lost 18 million of its once 30 million annual passengers. That is quite a blow.
 
thegreatRDU
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:42 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 24):
How is RDU doing?

We're good thanks...
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knope2001
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:19 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 24):
How is RDU doing?

Raleigh is down about 12% from their peak in 2000.
 
n782nc
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:28 am

Quoting malaysia (Reply 27):

OAK took quite a substantial hit. It should be noted that while OAK and SJC suffered considerable losses during the recession, SFO posted passenger traffic increases every year.

OAK (9,742,887 in 2013)

2007: 14,613,489 (peak)
2011: 9,266,570 (lowest)

36.59% total decrease

http://www.flyoakland.com/airport_stats_yearend_stats.shtml
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slcdeltarumd11
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:39 am

Quoting N782NC (Reply 32):
OAK took quite a substantial hit. It should be noted that while OAK and SJC suffered considerable losses during the recession, SFO posted passenger traffic increases every year.

Yeah consolidation, makes sense
 
reality
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:47 am

Quoting N782NC (Reply 32):

OAK (9,742,887 in 2013)

2007: 14,613,489 (peak)
2011: 9,266,570 (lowest)

36.59% total decrease

This is one example of where fewer passengers is better. The infrastructure just couldn't handle everyone in those peak years. A much more enjoyable airport experience now. Doesn't seem empty or forlorn at all. Just better, smoother, less car traffic, nicer restaurants, fewer lines.
 
prosa
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:42 am

For non-hub airports, ONT seems to have had some significant declines.
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infinit
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:13 am

Does anyone know about Japan's domestic airports? I wonder what effect a rapidly greying population and a poor economy has had on airports outside big market centres like Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya.
 
questions
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:25 am

While not as large of a decline, YMX suffered a huge miss in traffic expectations and a large decline in actual passenger numbers.
 
777ord
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:26 am

dont forget ONT. It used to have something in the neighorhood of 30+ mainline UA flights, multiple CO flights, and DL used to bring mainline to more places than JUST SLC. AS has cut their mainline flights to skywest, except 1-2 day and has cut frequency on top. US AIR reduced frequency and capacity to CRJ 900's. AA dropped from 737s to MD80.

Southwest is the biggest carrier, and they've lost a little traffic, too. LAWA will say they've had increased pax numbers, but its not evident with the decisions to cut services.

So yes, AM and Volaris fly to ONT. But, neither are full.
 
bmacleod
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:18 pm

Quoting questions (Reply 37):
While not as large of a decline, YMX suffered a huge miss in traffic expectations and a large decline in actual passenger numbers.
YUL once the busiest in Canada, recently lost its #3 position to YYC for busiest airports on Canada. YUL still seems to be doing fine for the moment but if Montreal's economy doesn't pick up soon, could get worse....

[Edited 2014-02-20 07:19:29]
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Thenoflyzone
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:10 pm

You cannot compare YUL to the likes of CVG, PIT or CLE. For one, YUL just handled above 14 million passengers in 2013, setting an all time record. In fact, the passenger count has almost doubled since 2000. it is quite the contrary in the U.S cities i mention above.

Quoting bmacleod (Reply 39):
YUL once the busiest in Canada,

A major reason for that was that almost all European carriers only had access to YUL until the mid-1960s or later. Once bilaterals began to be liberalized to give many carriers permission to serve YYZ, YUL traffic obviously dropped.

Quoting bmacleod (Reply 39):
recently lost its #3 position to YYC for busiest airports on Canada.

Comparing YUL to YYC is comparing apples to oranges. YYC is an isolated city in the middle of nowhere. If you want to go to Calgary, you have no choice but to fly. Now YUL, on the other hand, is within 6 hours driving time to YYZ, BOS, JFK, YQB etc. No to mention that it has a very good rail network to most of those places as well.

Quoting bmacleod (Reply 39):
YUL still seems to be doing fine for the moment but if Montreal's economy doesn't pick up soon, could get worse....

Quebec's economy has never been stellar, and yet YUL manages to come by with passenger increases most of the time. I don't think we have to worry about Trudeau airport ! 2014 looks promising as well, with TK, CM, TS, LH and AC all upping service out of YUL

Thenoflyzone
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Beardown91737
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:40 am

So what are the affected airports doing to try to rebuild? Surely all the governing agencies (except maybe one) are in contact with the airlines trying to attract some of the traffic back. How are they going about that?

Quoting 777ord (Reply 38):

ONT is down from over 7M to a new low in the last 60 days of under 4M. Still a big airport, but not like it was.

It was the 1990s when UA had 26 daily departures, while they were trying to fly PSA-style service. This also included 4x ORD and 4x DEN (I remember 5x ORD but can't find proof). At that time, everything on UA except FAT was mainline.

Hard to believe with all that UA and DL mainline in the 1990s, plus twice the WN flights, that 2007 was the peak for ONT. By then UA was only 4X to DEN on Ted, and no ORD or SFO.

As far as I know AA has always been MD-8x only and not 738 at ONT, 4x to DFW. US still has 4 mainline a day to PHX, and only 2 CR9s.

The biggest cuts have been from WN, UA, and DL. AA and US have remained fairly constant.
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point2point
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RE: What Airport Has Seen The Biggest Decline?

Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:12 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 28):
Not necessarily. Like others have alluded to, percentages can be a bigger impact. If ATL (more than 90 mil pax in 2012) lost 18 million pax it would not be as catastrophic as if say ATL would hurt because of it, but nothing like

Somehow, I think that this sort of comparison would involve some exponential smoothing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_smoothing

and time-series modeling as to which airport is hurt the most.

It's a lot of work, and ages since I've done anything along these lines as if I would remember what to even do.... and setting up such time-series models and all other required elements can be just so much mental effort, even with computers (although the right program could cut the work by about 90% or so) ..... but I'd be pretty sure that all of the raw data needed is out there? Maybe that could settle which airport fell the most?

 

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Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos