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MailTribune.com
  • Passengers at Medford airport up in March

  • Rogue Valley air travel snapped out of an eight-month dive with a record March for passenger activity.
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  • Rogue Valley air travel snapped out of an eight-month dive with a record March for passenger activity.
    Some 52,151 travelers passed through the Medford airport gates, surpassing the 2008 mark of 50,420 and bringing the year-to-date mark close to the first three months of 2013.
    "I'm feeling pretty good about March," said airport Director Bern Case. "We had a good spring break for travel and we've gotten past the weather issues and a variety of other things."
    After seeing year-over-year declines of 3.2 percent in January and 2.6 percent in February, air travel perked up with a 3.6 percent gain over March 2013's 50,343 total. For the first three months of the year, the passenger count is 133,736, down less than one-half percent from the first quarter of 2013.
    Case is unsure what sparked the swing, but said it didn't hurt for schools to have multiple weeks off for spring break.
    "It used to be easier to calculate what it would be like in spring, when everyone had the same week off," he said. "Now there are different times for different schools and states, so it's spread out over multiple weeks. I'm feeling pretty good about April, too."
    The airport has 18 daily departures at present compared to 17 a year ago.
    Allegiant Air saw a 38 percent year-over-year jump in passengers last month, while Alaska Air Group's Horizon Air picked up 3.8 percent over 2013, and Delta Connection had a 3 percent gain. United Express was down 10.3 percent.
    With United Express ending daily flights from Klamath Falls to Portland and San Francisco in June, the Medford airport's numbers could remain on an upswing for several months.
    Lynan Baghott, owner of Shasta Travel & Concierge Services in Klamath Falls, said her customers have been rebooking flights out of Medford rather than accepting refunds.
    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.
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