In brief: Airport boardings down 6.5 percent

Spokane International Airport boardings declined 6.5 percent in September, the best year-over-year results since Express Jet Airlines shut down service.

Airport spokesman Todd Woodard said Express Jet low-cost flights, and the response from competitors, inflated traffic numbers during the 17 months the airline served Spokane. High fuel costs grounded Express Jet service to Spokane and 23 other cities Sept. 2, 2008.

Since then, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines or its regional partner, SkyWest Airlines, have added or restored flights to Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago and Denver.

In September, 123,618 passengers boarded in Spokane, compared with 131,771 a year earlier. That brought the total for the year so far to 2,299,659 passengers, off 13.7 percent compared with 2008.

At Felts Field, aviation operations fell to 6,622, off 13.8 percent compared with September 2008. For the first nine months of the year, operations were up, but by less than 1 percent.

Bert Caldwell

Ambassadors CFO has left company

Ambassadors Group, the Spokane-based education travel firm, announced Monday that Chief Financial Officer Chadwick Byrd resigned to pursue other options. Byrd is one of three company officers named as defendants in a federal securities fraud suit filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington. He joined the company in 2005.

The suit also named Ambassadors Group CEO Jeff Thomas and Executive Vice President Peg Thomas as defendants.

Two separate investor groups allege the company misled shareholders in 2007 about the firm’s finances. The suit also says some company officers sold their personal Ambassadors stock before the share price plummeted in 2007.

Earlier this year Byrd hired his own attorney to defend himself against the securities fraud charges. “Any reader of the complaint will see Mr. Byrd is situated differently (than the other defendants). The complaint does not allege Mr. Byrd ever sold any stock” during the period in question, Seattle attorney Stellman Keehnel said.

Tom Sowa

CdA bank reports $2 million loss

A $5.5 million addition to its loan loss provision pushed Idaho Independent Bank to a $2 million net loss in the third quarter, the Coeur d’Alene-based institution reported Monday.

The loss, equivalent to 31 cents a share, contrasts with a $1.64 million profit, or 25 cents a share, for the 2008 period.

The loan loss provision also took results for the first nine months of 2009 into the red: a nearly $4.7 million loss, or 75 cents a share. The bank earned the same amount in the 2008 quarter, equivalent to 71 cents a share.

Total assets declined to less than $509.5 million as of Sept. 30, off 15.7 percent from a year ago.

Bert Caldwell


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