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MailTribune.com
  • Medford airport has second-best June ever

  • Commercial passenger travel saw its biggest year-over-year jump since December 2011 last month as the Medford airport posted its second-largest June on record.
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  • Commercial passenger travel saw its biggest year-over-year jump since December 2011 last month as the Medford airport posted its second-largest June on record.
    Just one of the four commercial carriers — Alaska Air Group unit Horizon Air — serving the Rogue Valley topped June 2013 figures, but the Seattle-based airline's nearly 13 percent year-over-year jump accounted for well over half of the 62,820 commercial travelers. The figure was 2,290 higher than last June, and less than 1,000 off the 2007 record of 63,798.
    "People are getting more comfortable with the economy," said Brian Mein of Caveman Travel in Grants Pass. "I get my sense, things are picking up for a lot of people, and when they want to do something, they're going to fly.
    "If they have some extra funds and want to go to Hawaii or wherever, they'll say we have this money and we need to go."
    Last month's 3.8 percent gain in passenger activity pulled the airport nearly even with the midway point of 2013, and suggests a fifth-straight year of 600,000 air travelers is in the cards.
    "The whole travel industry is changing a little bit for a lot of different reasons," Mein said. "People are booking further out. They were holding back until back until a couple of months. Now we're back to booking nine months to a year out. It's been a long time since we've gotten that."
    Longer trips also are in the mix.
    "We're still not where we were six or seven years ago — we've got a ways to go to get there," he said. "But unless fuel shoots out of sight, they are going to go."
    Horizon Air saw more than 35,000 passengers on its routes to Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles. Delta Connection had more than 6,000 flyers, but was slightly down from a year ago. United Express was down 9.8 percent, while Allegiant Air was off 3.8 percent.
    There are currently 18 daily departures, down from 20 this time last year.
    "We're less than 1 percent off the all-time record (647,471 in 2007) pace," Airport Director Bern Case said. "I've got to be happy with that. The fact that construction has affected the evening flight schedule has been counter-balanced by some of the Klamath business we've been getting."
    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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