While the economy continues to have an impact on traffic at Green Airport, updates to the instrument landing system also played a factor in the 7.37 percent decline in passenger traffic for the month of June, said Peter Frazier, interim director of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
Statistics show a 25,745-decline in passengers for the month for a total of 323,716 departing and arriving passengers. This puts the year-to-date totals at 1.79 million passengers as compared to 1.85 million as of June 2011, a 3.43 percent drop. Frazier said work on the instrument landing system interrupted some traffic.
Southwest continued to be Green's largest carrier with 162,552 passengers for the month, a 5.37 decline from June of last year. US Airways with 37,267, a 23.30 percent decline from 2011, was the airport's second largest carrier.
Frazier said RIAC is playing a consistent role in seeking to retain its share of the market.
“We do our part by making an affordable, convenient airport,” he said. And comparatively speaking, he added, “we’re doing well in light of the economy.”
His comparisons are other regional airports like those in the Los Angeles area that are losing traffic to LAX.
He said airline activity “gravitates to the center of where the people are.” To keep its share, Frazier said Green must maintain low-cost parking and efficient airport operations.
“There has been good management,” he said of the airport, “the prices [for the airlines] haven’t gone up.”
With last month’s announcement that JetBlue will start service at Green in late November with three daily flights to the Florida market, Frazier is optimistic of seeing a bump in traffic. JetBlue’s service will increase Green’s capacity by 450 airline seats a day.
That alone would not appear to be enough to turn around what appears to be another year in passenger declines for Green. For based on the six-month totals, passenger traffic that once approached 6 million annually will drop below 4 million this year.
When the economy rebounds, Frazier feels that Green will benefit from the infrastructure improvements made at this time and will be well positioned to grow.
“I think we’re holding our own in a tough economy,” he said. “We’re all in this together.”