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MailTribune.com
  • Airport traffic dips in May

  • The two-month uptick in local air travel ended with a thud during May.
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  • The two-month uptick in local air travel ended with a thud during May.
    Passenger travel in and out of the Rogue Valley fell 6.2 percent following gains in March and April. The good news, however, was that the 54,364 travelers passing through the gates represented the fourth-best May on record. It simply paled in comparison to the 57,926 figure from 2013 or even the 56,035 from two years ago.
    "I was a little sad," Airport Director Bern Case said. "We were almost even last month, now we're down almost 2 percent (year-over-year) again."
    The numbers stand to get a bump for at least the next few months after SkyWest announced it was no longer flying its United Express routes to the Klamath Falls airport. That means the closest air option for most Klamath Basin travelers is Medford.
    "We are coming into our best time of year, and with Klamath, I'm optimistic June should be up."
    Alaska Air Group unit Horizon Air increased its passenger count by more than 13.9 percent to account for more than half of May's total. Allegiant Air, United Express and Delta Connection all saw substantial passenger declines. Allegiant, based in Las Vegas, encountered a 32.6 percent fall-off, and United Express was down by nearly 23.1 percent, while Delta Connection, also operated locally by SkyWest, was down 9.4 percent.
    Allegiant has yet to reinstate its service to Mesa, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix.
    "I was hoping they were coming back," Case said. "But I've stopped holding my breath."
    For the first five months of the year, Medford has seen 237,997 commercial air travelers, down 1.6 percent from last year.
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