Regional Air Traffic Declining — Economic Indicator?

If the region’s economy is growing as Governor Brown claims, I wonder if he can explain why passenger traffic is declining at the Sacramento Airport?  According to the Sacramento County Department of Airports,  2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year which ended in June, passenger traffic is down 1.3 percent over 2012.

Passenger traffic at International is affected by the Sacramento Area’s economic profile; for example, the amount and type of commerce in the Sacramento Area may affect the level of business travel to and from Sacramento, or the amount of per capita personal income in the Sacramento Area may affect the level of discretionary travel from International. The Sacramento Area is among many metro areas across the nation still feeling the bite of the economic downturn. Approximately 8.8 million total passengers (enplaning and deplaning) chose International during fiscal year 2013, reflecting a 1.3 percent decline from the prior year.

As the report states, historically airline passenger traffic correlates closely with the economy and levels of real disposable income.

The recent economic recession combined with reduced discretionary income and increased airfares has contributed to reduced air travel demand. Nearly all airlines serving Sacramento were providing fewer seats in fiscal year 2013 than in fiscal year 2012. Reductions in overall seat capacity at International are indicated by flight schedules filed by the airlines with the Official Airline Guide.

According to all the economic reports coming from the political cesspool in Sacramento, the region’s 2013 economy is a big improvement over 2012, but the  Sacramento Airport numbers do not seem to support that claim.  It seems to me that if the local economy was growing we would see an increase in passenger air traffic, not a decline.  Am I wrong?

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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