Southwest, Delta set pace at Buffalo airport

November 7, 2012 Updated Nov 7, 2012 at 8:18 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

...
November 7, 2012 Updated Nov 7, 2012 at 8:18 AM EDT

The number of outbound passengers catching flights from Buffalo Niagara International Airport dropped slightly in September.

And, at Niagara Falls International Airport, which lost one carrier earlier in the year, the decline reached double digits.

According to statistics compiled by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates both airports, outbound passenger counts at Buffalo Niagara International Airport fell 1.2 percent in September compared to last year. In hard numbers, the airport handled 210,540 outbound passengers in September, compared with 213,095 during September 2011.

The drop was attributed to seasonally adjusted flight schedules.

At Niagara Falls International Airport, the facility handled 4,984 outbound passengers in September, compared with 5,548 from one year ago - a drop of 10.17 percent.

Canadians remain a dominant force at both Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports with residents from Southern Ontario accounting for nearly 40 percent of the outbound passengers in Buffalo and almost 80 percent in Niagara Falls.

For the year-to-date, the Buffalo airport has handled 1.976 million outbound passengers, compared with 1.972 for the same period last year - a 0.19 percent increase. The airport remains on pace to handle more than 5 million total passengers this year.

Among the interesting trends:

• Southwest Airlines, which recently merged and absorbed AirTran Airways into its system, remains the busiest airline at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, handling 32 percent of the outbound flights. In hard numbers, Southwest handled 67,936 outbound passengers in September, a drop of 2.17 percent from last year when it handled 69,411 outbound passengers.

Southwest, in October, added one more direct flight to Orlando - a popular winter destination. Southwest now flies 22 weekly planes between Buffalo and Orlando.

• Delta has settled in as BNIA's second busiest carrier, with a 16 percent increase in passengers and 21 percent of the total share at the airport. In hard numbers, Delta, which recently merged with Northwest Airlines, handled 44,795 outbound passengers compared with 38,587 outbound passengers one year ago.

Delta has added two more flights between Buffalo and New York's LaGuardia International Airport.

• JetBlue continues as the airport's third-busiest carrier, handling 17 percent of the outbound flights in September.

For the month, JetBlue handled 35,848 outbound passengers, a 5.8 percent drop from last year when it handled 38,059 outbound passengers.

JetBlue, in October, added five more direct flights to Fort Lauderdale and one more direct flight to Orlando. Both will remain through the busy winter months.

• Recently merged United and Continental Airlines, is now the fourth-busiest air carrier, handling 14 percent of the outbound passengers. United handled 29,022 outbound passengers in September, down 1.4 percent from the 29,435 it handled last September.

United is adding one more direct flight between Buffalo and Chicago, giving it 40 weekly flights between the two cities.

• USAirways, once the dominant airline at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, is now the fifth-busiest air carrier at the Cheektowaga facility, handling 13 percent of the outbound passengers.

USAirways passenger count dropped 14.63 percent in September, falling from 30,739 one year ago to 26,241 this past September. The airline changed a number of its routes and schedules.

• American Airlines handled just 3 percent of the outbound passengers from Buffalo.

In hard numbers it handled 6,355 outbound passengers in September, down 2 percent from the 6,488 it handled in September 2011.

• Niagara Falls International Airport is still suffering from the abrupt shutdown this March of Direct Air, which had been the dominant low-cost carrier at the facility.

However, Allegiant Air, which began Niagara Falls service this summer, has picked up a lot of the slack.

For the year-to-date, Niagara Falls International Airport has handled 66,901 outbound passengers compared with 69,597 from one year ago, a 3.87 percent decrease.

Spirit Airlines has seen a major growth of 19.69 percent, rising from 1,564 outbound passengers to 1,872 outbound passengers in September.

Allegiant Air handled 3,112 outbound passengers.

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