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Budget cuts force large airlines to pull out of smaller airports

An American Airlines pilot walks through the airline's terminal January 10, 2001.
An American Airlines pilot walks through the airline's terminal January 10, 2001.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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While airline fees may be on the rise, the number of flights taking off is heading in the opposite direction. It's especially true at LA's smaller airports, like the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. 

In the past five years, small airports have lost more than a quarter of their flights on average, according to a new MIT study.

Victor Gill, spokesman for the Bob Hope Airport, says that airlines like American struggled, especially during the economic downtown.

"Even though they were flying planes that were well over 90 percent full out of Burbank to Dallas, they were unfortunately were operating in an environment that every flight lost money," said Gill. 

Now with the economy rebounding, how do you get airlines to come back? There's a kind of chicken-and-the-egg scenario happening: You can lure back airlines if you show that there are a lot of passengers coming through.

But you can only get a lot of passengers if you have airlines offering more flights. And Gill says it's also a problem when an airport named after Bob Hope struggles for some name recognition in 2013.

"It turns out that everybody in southern California knows who Bob Hope was and what Bob Hope Airport is, but if you're out of town and out of state, it becomes a little more vague," said Gill. "One of the things we're doing is a lot of Facebook promotions, and we're doing some local things, too. We've got the outlets at Camarillo cross-promoting with us, and just last week we've gone into a three-year deal to be the official airport of the Rose Bowl stadium and of UCLA athletics."

Didn't know the Rose Bowl needed an "official airport," did you? 

Some frequent flyers will also get the benefit of a faster security screening process, too. Gill hopes all these strategies will get you thinking about passing through their gates.

But you tell us -- what's your strategy for flying? And what's your preference between flying out of LAX and one of the smaller airports in the region?