Southwest Airlines is still the busiest airline serving Spokane’s airport, but the No. 2 and No. 3 carriers are gaining passengers, according to a new survey of air traffic here.
For the past several years, low-cost Southwest, based in Dallas, has been Spokane International Airport’s highest-volume air carrier.
For the 12 months ending June 30, Southwest saw only a 1.4 percent increase from the previous year in the total number of passengers leaving Spokane.
Horizon Air and its sister company, Alaska Airlines, both showed larger net gains, according to a survey compiled for the Spokane Airport Board.
The survey, by Sixel Consultants of Eugene, Ore., said Southwest flew about 794,000 outbound passengers from Spokane in the year ending June 30, up about 10,000 from the same period a year earlier.
Seattle-based Horizon flew about 619,000 outbound passengers, a gain of 104,000 people, or 20 percent.
Alaska Airlines, also based in Seattle, saw a net gain of 37,000 outbound passengers from Spokane, or 8.7 percent, to end the year with about 462,000 passengers leaving Spokane.
The rest of the commercial airlines flying out of Spokane saw the following changes: United Airlines gained 9 percent; Northwest Airlines gained 1.5 percent; Skywest gained 81 percent; America West lost 6 percent; Delta lost 57 percent; Big Sky gained 44 percent; and Mesa Airlines gained 100 percent, because it began offering a daily flight in 2003 and had not flown out of Spokane up to that point.
Skywest’s huge passenger gain and Delta’s big decline are the result of Delta stopping service in Spokane in January of this year. It transferred all of its Spokane flights to Skywest as Delta reduced some West Coast flights to cut costs.
The Sixel survey showed Spokane is still the fourth-busiest airport in the Northwest. The top three are Seattle, Portland and Anchorage.
The fifth busiest airport is Boise. Of the top five, Spokane saw a net gain of 5 percent in passenger traffic from June 2003 to June 2004. Only Anchorage saw faster growth in that period, with 6.8 percent more passengers.