Economic decline hurts El Paso airport

NewsNM Swickard - Nope, not just economic decline. The TSA has caused some people, myself included, to prefer to drive rather than fly, an odd change for someone like me who loves to fly. I have not been up in a commercial aircraft for six years. From the El Paso Times - by Evan Mohl - The El Paso International Airport is facing a decline in passenger traffic and additional cancellations of flights -- something that is causing growing concern among city leaders. Tight economic times and ongoing challenges of airline companies have caused city officials and leaders to search for ways to maintain and increase the airport's flights and passenger traffic.
     The airline industry's struggles with profitability, increasing fuel costs and mergers have drastically affected small and midsize airports that depend on airlines for business, said Brent Bowen, professor and head of aviation technology at Purdue University.
     The El Paso airport, with a taxpayer-funded budget of about $48 million, is not immune. The airport's traffic is down 15 percent since 2010, said Monica Lombrana, the city's director of aviation. Lombrana also said Southwest Airlines, which operates more than half of El Paso's daily flights, plans to stop its direct flight to San Diego in the near future. The announcement comes a few months after the airline stopped its two nonstop flights to Albuquerque.
     "It's a pretty stark situation for medium-sized airports," Bowen said. "And it has pretty much everything to do with the airline industry, which those airports have little or no control over." Read more