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Traffic down at Tulsa International Airport, staff looks for answers

Departing travelers dropped 3 percent in June at Tulsa International Airport, compared to June 2011. The airport is conducting a study to find out if they are losing potential customers.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: July 19, 2012

After two months of gains, departing traffic slipped at Tulsa International Airport in June, and a study under way may explain why.

Airport statistics show the steady progress made in April and May was nearly undone last month, when outbound traffic decreased by 3 percent; overall, departures are up less than 1 percent for 2012.

Airport spokeswoman Alexis Higgins said she's checked variables such as fare prices and flight schedules and can't explain the dip in June.

“There's not one thing that is jumping out at me that says ‘this is the difference,'” she said.

The airport has commissioned an independent firm, Sabre, to conduct a study on the traffic patterns of residents in Tulsa and surrounding communities. Higgins said they'll pull airfare sales by ZIP code and compare with the departing airport to see if Tulsa's airport is losing customers to regional airports such as Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Joplin Regional Airport in Missouri or Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport — each of which is about a two-hour drive from Tulsa.

The study is expected to be complete in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City experienced its 14th consecutive month of growth. Departing passengers increased by 3.5 percent in June and are up 5.5 percent for 2012, compared to last year.

Spokeswoman Karen Carney said the airport is on track to surpass 2007, its peak year, which was pre-recession and when ExpressJet still served the airport. She said sports events, including Oklahoma City Thunder basketball and the Women's College World Series softball championship, drew many travelers to Oklahoma City last month.

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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Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport

There were 4,989 departures from Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport in June, a 16.8 percent decrease compared with June 2011.


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