The good news is that the percentage decline in enplanements at the Fort Smith Regional Airport is slowing for the monthly and annual comparisons.
July saw 7,564 boardings out of Fort Smith, down 3.8% compared July 2008, according to figures published by the airport. The June 2009 comparison was down 6.5%.
For the first seven months of the year, enplanements total 47,983 down 10% from the 53,355 in the same period of 2008. Enplanements for the first six months of the year were down 11.1%
Passenger enplanements at the Fort Smith Regional Airport totaled 87,030 in 2008, down 12.2% from the 99,127 enplanements in 2007. The 2008 traffic total is the lowest at the airport in the past 10 years.
The Fort Smith Regional Airport lost in June its direct Delta connection to the Atlanta airport. The loss is a result of the acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta. American Eagle Airlines operates five flights a day — all connecting to Dallas-Fort Worth — out of Fort Smith. Delta/Northwest has three flights a day to Memphis.
The Air Transport Association is predicting airline travel with dip 7% between June 1 and Aug. 31, a decline of about 150,000 travelers a day. According to the May 15 ATA statement, approximately 195 million passengers are expected to fly this summer on U.S. airlines, down from 209 million during the summer months of 2008. The ATA attributed the drop in traffic to the global recession, and later updated the report to include the outbreak of swine flu as a cause in reduced airline traffic.
The number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines in June fell 6.5%, the most recent numbers reported by the ATA.