BANGOR, Maine — For the sixth consecutive month, passenger traffic at Bangor International Airport has increased, although the recent loss of service from one carrier and the pending loss of another have airport officials concerned about the continued volatility of the industry.
The numbers for July at BIA were up 9.6 percent over the previous year and the year-to-date statistics represent a 9.8 percent increase over the same period last year.
“We are pleased that so many passengers have chosen [BIA] for their travel in the last several months,” said Rebecca Hupp, airport director. “The national trend of decreased fares has made flying from Bangor an affordable option for area residents.”
Statistics at BIA appear to be a departure from national averages, which show passenger traffic down anywhere from 5 percent to 7 percent in 2009, according to Air4Casts, an online tracker. However, Hupp pointed out that the industry is volatile, something Bangor has seen firsthand recently.
Effective July 31, Continental Airlines stopped its twice-daily service from BIA to Newark, N.J., which represented about 14 percent of the airport’s market share. Additionally, Delta Air Lines officials told BIA last week that it was halting its shuttle from Bangor to Boston as of Dec. 1, which will eliminate two 50-passenger flights per day.
Delta, which recently completed a merger with Northwest Airlines, has the biggest market share of any carrier in Bangor, accounting for about 40 percent of passengers. The Atlanta-based company will continue to offer daily flights from BIA to Detroit and JFK International Airport in New York.
Hupp expressed disappointment about the recent flight reductions at BIA. She was hopeful that strong numbers for the first six months of 2009 put the airport in a good position to discuss future opportunities for airlines to increase service.
“We will continue to work with existing carriers and recruit new carriers, but we’re realistic,” she said.
The biggest passenger increases by carrier at BIA in July were for Allegiant Air (about 50 percent over 2008) and US Airways (about 24 percent). Northeast decreased by 19 percent from July 2008 to July 2009.
When Delta leaves BIA, the airport no longer will have any flights to Boston. Hupp said that could be a concern for some business travelers and those who fly to Boston for medical treatments.