May 1, 2009 in Business

Spokane International Airport sees drop in passengers, cargo

 

Spokane International Airport reported a 15 percent decline in passengers in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2008.

In the first three months of the year, the airport handled 703,541 passenger boardings, down from 768,961 a year ago.

March traffic was down 13.6 percent from March 2008, the airport said Thursday.

Much of the decline was attributed to the departure last year of regional startup Express Jet, which drew about 20,000 passengers in the first three months of 2008. That service ended in September.

Carriers reporting fewer passengers in the first quarter include Frontier (down 36 percent), Horizon (down 23 percent), Delta (down 23 percent), United (down 11 percent), Southwest (down 9 percent) and Northwest (down 3 percent).

Some carriers have seen a boost in passengers since the first quarter of 2008. They include Alaska (up 12 percent), SkyWest (up 7 percent) and U.S. Airways (up 4 percent).

Cargo traffic is down sharply as well.

The airport saw a 14.7 percent drop in cargo quarter over quarter, with 11,416 tons moved in the first three months this year.

Scott Maben

Coeur d’Alene

Mountain West Bank reports 58 percent decline in earnings

Coeur d’Alene-based Mountain West Bank reported earnings of $1.2 million for its first quarter of 2009, down 58 percent from the $2.8 million earned in the first quarter of 2008.

The results reflect a charge of $5 million placed in the bank’s loan loss reserve, said CEO Jon Hippler. In addition, the bank reported $349,000 in added expenses and losses from foreclosed real estate properties.

Total assets increased to $1.22 billion, an increase of 16 percent from first quarter 2008. Hippler said that gain is due to “organic growth” related to new business and additional customers.

The bank has 24 branches in Idaho, Washington and Utah.

Tom Sowa

Washington

Long-term mortgage rates fall to record low of 4.78 percent

Rates on 30-year mortgages tied a record low this week, spurring refinancing activity as the troubled housing market moves closer to possibly hitting the bottom, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Average rates on 30-year fixed mortgages, the most popular loan among home buyers, slid to 4.78 percent from 4.8 percent last week, Freddie Mac said. Last year at this time, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 6.06 percent.

The all-time low of 4.78 percent was recorded the week of April 2. Freddie Mac’s annual survey dates back to 1971.

Low mortgage rates have led to more refinancing activity since rates first fell dramatically in the winter. Rates slid again after the Federal Reserve said last month it would buy $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and $300 billion in long-term government debt, which traditionally influences rates on 30-year home loans.

Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.48 percent this week, unchanged for the third straight week.

Associated Press


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email