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Springfield Airport Sees Increase In Passengers


In an ever changing industry, Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport is keeping pace.  More travelers are taking flights in to and out of the facility.

Mark Hanna, Executive Director of the Springfield Airport Authority, said the most recent numbers show strong support for flights to Dallas and Florida. 

"We've had numerous conversations with Allegiant," Hanna said. He adds some of discussions have centered on potentially adding flights to Phoenix and Las Vegas, but it's too soon to say what will happen.

"Things have changed so much in the industry.  Used to be, you didn't have enough fingers to count the number of airlines you wanted to meet with.  Today, we have four major airlines that we have available to pitch to," he said.   Some of the smaller carriers like Spirit and Frontier are looking to stay within high population centers to fill planes and earn more money.

"We need to find a way to back in to the current business model the airlines are using," Hanna commented.  "They aren't going to go off the track or the reservation from their model for a specific market.  We are actually seeing airlines pulling planes out of markets where they were making money."

The reason?  More profit elsewhere. 

"It is a very difficult environment right now.  We're seeing a lot of the major carriers divest themselves from the 50 seat aircraft. A lot of mid and small sized communities are going to have to demonstrate to those airlines that they can fill (those) aircraft."

As for Springfield, it's in competition with other central Illinois airports in places like Peoria and Bloomington.  And, as always, St. Louis.

Hanna says about 60 % of passengers still go to Lambert Airport, bypassing flights at Springfield.  But he says he is seeing more parity in pricing, which could improve that figure.

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