Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane Airports' decline in operating revenue is less than expected

Spokane International, Felts see bigger dip in expenses

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Operating revenue and passenger count at Spokane International Airport decreased last year compared with 2011, but revenues were up compared with projections, says airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

In contrast, operating revenue at Felts Field increased slightly compared with 2011, but was below airport projections.

Woodard says operating revenue doesn't include funding the airports receive through the federal Airports Improvement Program nor passenger facility charges. The expenditures also don't take into account capital projects, such as snow removal equipment expenses.

Operating revenue at Spokane International Airport decreased by 1.2 percent compared with 2011, but is up 1.6 percent compared with what was budgeted for 2012. The airport brought in $25.4 million in operating revenue last year compared with $25.7 million the year earlier.

Total operating revenue for Felts Field for last year was $665,000, up 1.4 percent compared with 2011, but down 6.2 percent compared with the 2012 budget.

In addition to the decrease in operating revenue at SIA, the airport saw a 2 percent decrease in enplaned passengers last year compared with the year earlier. About 30,000 fewer passengers boarded planes at SIA in 2012, with the biggest annual decreases coming from chartered flights and Southwest Airlines.

The decrease in enplaned passengers was anticipated by the airport, Woodard says. Increases in fuel prices and decreases in air service both in Spokane and nationwide were expected, he says, and to counteract those restrictions, the airport adjusted its landing fees for last year.

Woodard also attributes the decrease in passengers to a 2.6 percent decline in available airline seats flown in and out of Spokane last year.

In addition to operating revenue, the airport reported $8.3 million in revenue tied to parking last year, equating to more than 405,000 transactions. That number was slightly down compared with 2011 when the airport reported $8.4 million in parking revenue and more than 417,000 transactions.

"As a result of increased revenues and decreased expenses, there will be a positive effect on forecasted cash flow," Woodard says.

Expenses at both SIA and Felts Field dropped considerably last year. Spokane International Airport saw a decrease in expenses of almost $3 million, or a 12.5 percent decline, compared with the prior year. Expenses at Felts Field fell to $682,000 from $776,000 in 2011, for a 12.1 percent decrease.

For 2012, Felts Field reported a decrease in total operations of 11.4 percent from the previous year, continuing a downward trend for the airport since 2010.

As operating revenues at Felts Field showed a slight increase last year, freight and cargo traffic increased substantially last year in data available through November. The airport says freight and cargo traffic leaving Spokane was up 20.9 percent and freight and cargo arriving in Spokane was up 11.4 percent.

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