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Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport reports growth in July; Tulsa airport sees decline

A spokeswoman for Tulsa International Airport says the lack of a true low-cost airline may explain the decline.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: August 23, 2012

July was another busy, summer month at Will Rogers World Airport, which experienced a 2.3 percent increase in departing passengers. Vacationers celebrated one last summer hurrah before school started, and equine and sporting events kept tourists flying into Oklahoma City.

The same wasn't so at Tulsa International Airport, where departures dropped by more than 5 percent in July, compared to the same month past year.

Alexis Higgins, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa airport, said the airport's lack of a true low-cost carrier may explain why cash-strapped travelers aren't choosing to fly as much as before. Nearby Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport is served by Allegiant and Will Rogers World Airport has budget flights on Frontier Airlines. Fares have gone up, she added, and some people may be driving instead of flying.

“Families are looking at alternatives to flying because they are wanting to maximize vacation dollars,” Higgins said.

Higgins said she received preliminary results from a leakage study that was conducted on Tulsa International Airport's potential customers but the findings aren't finalized.

In Oklahoma City, the airport's 2 percent growth was anticipated, spokeswoman Karen Carney said. And so far, August has been busy with incoming university students.

“We always see a big influx of international students fly in,” she said. “Also, students that come in from out of state, or their parents fly in. It really does impact us — in a good way.”

Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport

There were 4,883 outbound passengers at Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport in July, a decrease of 15.75 percent compared to July 2011. Overall, traffic is down 8.5 percent for the year.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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