BANGOR, Maine — After a slight dip in August, passenger statistics at Bangor International Airport jumped 12 percent in September compared with the same month a year earlier.
They were buoyed by increased service from carriers Allegiant Air and US Airways.
The boost by those two carriers helped offset the loss of Continental Airlines, which halted its twice-daily service from BIA to Newark, N.J., effective July 31.
“We’re encouraged that passengers are continuing to use the airport and are optimistic that the trend will continue,” airport Director Rebecca Hupp said Wednesday.
Before August, which saw passenger statistics drop 2.6 percent over August 2008, the airport saw increases for six consecutive months from February to July. The aggregate statistics for 2009 also are up 8 percent over the previous year.
By comparison, the number of passengers at Portland International Jetport increased just 1.96 percent in September and were down 2 percent for the year to date.
While Hupp praised the strong numbers by Allegiant and US Airways, she was equally pleased with each carrier’s average load factor, a measure of how full a plane is. Planes that flew in and out of Bangor in September were 86.75 percent full, compared with 76.4 percent in September 2008.
Load factors are a double-edged sword, though. The more full a plane is, the less room for growth, Hupp said.
Allegiant, which offers nonstop flights from Bangor to Sanford, Fla., near Orlando, is preparing to launch another flight — from BIA to Tampa-St. Petersburg — on Nov. 20. However, any increases from Allegiant likely would be canceled out by losses from Delta Air Lines, which is halting its twice-a-day shuttle from Bangor to Boston as of Dec. 1.
Hupp said as the economy recovers, it’s important to note that the airline industry would likely lag by several months. She recently attended an industry conference where consultant Mike Boyd indicated that 2010 likely would see reduced capacity and weak demand at U.S. airports.
She also cautioned that October numbers may not represent a similar increase.
“We’re doing all we can to offer a variety of service out of Bangor,” she said.