A New Study Shows the Fastest Growing and Declining Airports in the US

Oct 10, 2018

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A new study released by Upgraded Points highlights the fastest growing and declining airports in the US.

Upgraded Points (UP) analyzed a decade’s worth of data complied by the Federal Aviation Administration that looked into passenger enplanement between 2007 and 2017. UP only considered airports that attracted more than three million passengers in 2007.

There’s no denying everyone has an airport they prefer more than others and some they’d rather avoid at all costs, but whether your favorite is on the list of the fastest growing airports depends on the number of revenue passengers boarding planes each year. The top 10 fastest growing airports all have shown more than a 25% growth in the past 10 years, while the top shrinking airports all had a decline greater than 10%.

Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Austin-Bergstrom International (AUS) landed the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, as the fastest growing airports in the US. DAL has been expanding its flight destinations after the repeal of the Wright amendment in 2014, which has allowed Southwest and other airlines to add nonstop flights. AUS has also seen tremendous growth in the past decade. In 2016 and 2017, the Austin airport experienced as much as a 12% growth in passenger enplanement, the study revealed.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has also shown consistent growth. In 2017, the airport served a record-breaking 55.8 million passengers. According to the study, SFO’s traffic increased by nearly 36%, but the number of flights has only increased by 14% — the airport is one of US’ the major international hubs and encourages airlines to use larger aircraft rather than adding more flights.

Among the top declining airports are Memphis International (MEM) and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG). According to the study, MEM and CVG have seen such a large decline in growth because of Delta’s decision to end its hub operations in these cities. While CVG is seeing a high decline in growth right now, UP predicts that new routes from Southwest, Frontier and Allegiant, will boost passenger traffic in the future.

Surprisingly, no NYC-area airports made either list — even though all of the major three landed a spot on TPG’s list of the 10 worst US airports. Perhaps New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) can join the fastest growing airports following its $13 billion makeover.

Photo of Dallas Love Field Airport by Shutterstock.com

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