Enplanements at Arkansas’ three largest commercial airports are trending higher in 2012, mirroring a federal report issued Wednesday (June 20) showing a 3.4% gain during the first quarter in total U.S. travel and tourism spending.
For the first five months of 2012, enplanements at Little Rock National Airport (Bill & Hillary Clinton Airport) total 464,554, up 10.07% compared to the 2011 period. Enplanements during May totaled 110,057, up 9.52%.
If the trend continues, 2012 could mark the end of five consecutive years of enplanement declines at the Little Rock airport. Enplanements at Little Rock National during 2011 totaled 1.103 million, down 1.92% compared to the 2010 period.
January-April enplanements at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) totaled 175,922, up 1.29% compared to the 2011 period. (As of June 20, XNA had not posted its May figures.) April enplanements at XNA reached 48,412, up from 45,549 during April 2011.
Enplanements at XNA totaled 562,747 during 2011, down 1.38% compared to 2010. During 2010, XNA had 570,625 enplanements, up 5.49% over 2009. XNA’s first full year of traffic was 1999, and the airport posted eight consecutive years of enplanement gains before seeing a decline in 2008.
For the first five months of 2012, Fort Smith enplanements totaled 35,799, up 10.8% compared to the 2011 period. May enplanements at the Fort Smith Regional Airport totaled 8,202, up 9.53% compared to May 2011.
Enplanements at the Fort Smith Regional Airport during 2011 eked out a 0.12% gain over 2010, marking two consecutive years of enplanement growth at the airport. For the year, the airport posted 86,234 enplanements compared to 86,129 during 2010.
TRAVEL, TOURISM GAINS
“Real spending on travel and tourism increased at an annual rate of 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012 after increasing 4.4 percent (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2011,” noted Wednesday’s report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. “The increase in real spending on tourism primarily reflected increases in traveler accommodations and in food services and drinking places.”
According to the BEA report, prices for travel and tourism goods and services increased 6% in the first quarter of 2012 following a 1.7% dip in the fourth quarter of 2011.
“The upturn in prices for travel and tourism goods and services reflected upturns in the prices for fuel related to transportation services and in the prices for traveler accommodations,” explained the BEA report.
Figures in the BEA report inc
• In the first quarter of 2012, total current-dollar tourism-related spending was $1.4 trillion and consisted of $848.6 billion (59%) of direct tourism spending — goods and services sold directly to visitors — and $577.9 billion (41%) of indirect tourism-related spending — goods and services used to produce what visitors buy;
• Total tourism-related employment was 7.6 million in the first quarter of 2012 and consisted of 5.4 million (71%) direct tourism jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services sold directly to visitors — and 2.2 million (29%) indirect tourism-related jobs — jobs where workers produce goods and services used to produce what visitors buy;
• Prices for passenger air transportation increased 11.9% in the first quarter of 2012 after increasing 6.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011; and,
• Prices for traveler accommodations increased 6.3% in the first quarter after decreasing 8.3% in the fourth quarter.
NATIONAL AIRLINE STATS
American Airlines is the primary carrier at Arkansas’ three largest commercial airfields. The airline, now in the process of bankruptcy reorganization, had 6.665 million U.S. enplanements during May, up 1% compared to May 2011. Year-to-date, American reports 30.925 million enplanements, up 0.3%.
Airlines for America (formerly the Air Transport Association) has predicted that from June through August, U.S. airlines will carry an average of 2.24 million travelers globally every day, just slightly head of the 2011 pace. However, the group study notes that total passenger volumes are 5% below the summer 2007 all-time high of 217.6 million.
Of the 206.2 million total passengers expected to travel on U.S. airlines this summer, 26.8 million will travel on international flights, also ahead of the 2011 pace, according to the Airlines for America report. In the U.S., 179.4 million passengers are expected to fly this summer, comparable to summer 2011.
U.S. airlines carried 730 million total system passengers during 2011, up 1.3% from 2010, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Domestically, the airlines carried 637.5 million passengers, up 1.3% from 2010. Internationally, the U.S. carried 92.5 million passengers, up 1.7% from 2010.
The top five U.S. airlines by enplaned passengers during 2011 were:
Delta: 113.485 million
Southwest: 110.587 million
American: 86.042 million
US Airways: 52.921 million
United: 50.474 million
This article appears courtesy of our content partner, The City Wire.