AirTalk for May 14, 2013

How are travellers impacted by dwindling airport competition?

L.A./Ontario International Airport

David McNew/Getty Images

A passenger walks through the Ontario Airport.

If you've had a hard time booking flights at Burbank or Ontario airport lately, we now have hard data to attest to that. A new study from MIT researchers shows that while flights have decreased on the whole since the Great Recession, mid-size airports have been hardest hit. From 2007 to 2012 departing flights at Burbank dropped by 25% and Ontario had a bigger drop of 49%, while LAX experienced just a 7% decrease.

The analysts note, "As a result of a prolonged economic downturn, high fuel prices, and a new breed of airline strategy focused on increased load factors and capacity discipline, about 1.4 million yearly scheduled domestic flights have been cut from the U.S. air transportation system from 2007 to 2012."

Michael Wittman of MIT says "All this is making people in smaller communities feel antsy, because airports are a link to the global economy."

How is it affecting you? Is this new business model of airliners sustainable? How are smaller airports trying to retain airliners?


Michael Wittman, Airline Researcher at Research Engineer in MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation - its recent study found a significant decrease in traffic at mid-size airports

Brian Sumers, Airports and Airlines Reporter, Los Angeles News Group

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