More passengers boarding in Spokane

Passenger numbers at Spokane International Airport continued to increase compared with 2007 even as airlines announce service cutbacks.

In July, 168,844 passengers boarded planes, up 1.5 percent over July 2007. Boardings for the first seven months of 2008 came to 2,071,438, up almost 5 percent for the same period last year.

Freight tonnage for the month and the year through July 31 fell less than 1 percent; to 4,194 tons in July, and 31,021 tons since Jan. 1.

Felts Field was less active.

July aviation operations fell more than 11 percent compared with July 2007, to 6,875. Operations for the first seven months were off 7.4 percent to 37,481.

July freight tonnage decreased more than 23 percent to 4.6 tons. Tonnage since Jan. 1 slipped 8.2 percent to 33.6 tons.

Among the 10 airlines serving Spokane, SkyWest and Alaska have suffered the biggest passenger losses compared with the first seven months of 2007, 35 percent and 22 percent respectively.

ExpressJet, which began operations in April 2007, reported almost triple the passengers for 2008 versus 2007, but the airline will discontinue all operations next week because high fuel costs made its small planes uneconomical.

Delta, with a 52 percent increase in passengers, was the second biggest gainer.

United has announced it will drop its daily flight to Chicago Nov. 1, and Southwest with cut one daily flight each to Portland and Seattle on Jan. 11.

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