A preliminary financial report released last month shows revenue, passenger count, and total freight all rose at Spokane International Airport in 2015 compared with 2014, again exceeding the airport’s projections for the year.
Todd Woodard, director of marketing and public affairs for Spokane Airports, says that looking ahead, “We do anticipate an increase in the airfield revenue, due not only to the changing mix of aircraft but also to a landing fee rate increase we made for the 2016 year.”
Total combined revenue for Spokane International Airport, the Airport Business Park, and Felts Field last year was $30 million, surpassing projected revenue by $1 million, the unaudited report says.
Spokane County and the city of Spokane jointly own and operate all three airport facilities. Woodard says an audited annual report for 2015 is being prepared for expected release this summer.
Combined operating expenses in 2015 totaled $22.8 million, coming in nearly $2 million lower than projected in the 2015 budget, the preliminary report says.
Operating income before depreciation totaled $7.8 million, surpassing projections by $2.7 million and exceeding 2014 operating income before depreciation by $1 million.
Spokane International Airport’s 2015 revenue was $28.4 million, exceeding projections by 4.4 percent, while operating expenses totaled $21 million, 7.5 percent below projections.
The total passenger count, which combines departing and arriving passenger counts, was 3.1 million, up almost 5 percent from a year earlier, marking the second year in a row that year-over-year passenger totals have increased. Prior to the two-year uptick, passenger counts had been on a downward trend since 2007, when they peaked at 3.5 million.
Alaska Airlines, with 651,404 departing passengers, had the highest lift in passenger traffic, with a 5.4 percent increase over the year-earlier count.
Woodard indicated the airport expects to see a continued modest rise in passenger activity this coming year, based on projected schedules provided by the air carriers.
“In developing the 2016 budget, we projected an increase in passenger traffic of another 1 percent over 2015. The first two months of 2016 are showing a 2 percent growth over 2015,” he says.
Woodard says the projected increase in passenger traffic is due to several factors, including the return this June of seasonal nonstop service to Chicago on Southwest Airlines, as well as a weekly nonstop seasonal flight to Anchorage each Saturday on Alaska Airlines, also starting in June.
Cargo tonnage coming in and out of Spokane International Airport reached a 15-year high in 2015, at 69,200 tons.
Arriving cargo totaling 40,700 tons exceeded the 2014 tonnage total by 4.4 percent, while departing cargo totaling 28,500 tons exceeded 2014 tonnage by just over 7 percent.
Airport officials don’t anticipate cargo carriers making any significant changes in service here this year.
Spokane International Airport’s revenue and expenses account for more than 92 percent of the total for the three Spokane airport facilities.
The Airport Business Park, which has 32 buildings and 23 tenants on 600 acres of land adjacent to Spokane International Airport, had 2015 operating income before depreciation of $379,000, down from $870,000 in 2014.
Felts Field, the smaller of the Spokane airport facilities, had 2015 revenue that totaled $715,300, and expenses totaled $631,700, for a net gain of $83,600, an improvement over a year-earlier loss of $23,000.
Top sources of revenue for Spokane International Airport include parking, airline terminal rent, car rentals, commercial building and land leases, airline landing fees, and concessions.
Woodard says the largest increases last year were in airfield, parking, and terminal revenues. Airfield revenue increased 14.5 percent over 2014, due to increased landing fee rates and passenger traffic.
Parking revenue rose 9.2 percent over 2014 due to a rate increase in garage and outside parking along with growth in the number of daily vehicles.
Terminal revenue increased 6.2 percent over 2014 mostly due to an increase in concession revenues. American Airlines also recently moved its operation to the airport’s C-Concourse to better balance peak traffic volume periods. In the Upper C Concourse, the airport’s food and beverage concessionaire also added a Starbucks outlet and the retail concessionaire will be reopening a news and gift operation.
Woodard says the airport’s fuel facility usually generates about $550,000 in gross revenue annually, and revenues for 2015 performed at about 6 percent above projections.
Woodard says that the airport also has accomplished several customer service initiatives, among them an added effort this year to promote its parking services. As part of this plan to improve the customer parking experience, the airport constructed a carwash for its outside parking lot.
“Promoting our parking products helped many customers discover that we do have convenient and competitively priced parking,” says Woodard.
The 2016 combined budget for the three Spokane airport facilities projects revenue of $33.6 million. The 2016 budget projects a 2.7 percent increase in revenue due primarily to an increase in rental rates for terminal tenants as well as an increase in the 2016 landing fees.
Operating expenses, not including depreciation, are projected to increase 2.5 percent over the 2015 budget to $25.1 million. The primary reasons for the anticipated increase include higher personnel costs as well as higher maintenance and utilities costs.
Woodard says it’s too early to tell whether the expected increase in expenses will be significant, as the airport’s greatest variable expense relates to snow removal, which is weather dependent.
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