Even though budget airlines are rocketing across the country with little interest in becoming more than cargo vans with wings, they appear to have the most influence on air travel of all major airlines in the game. Why? Because, according to a new report from UpgradedPoints.com, they are largely responsible for the growth and decline of major airports across the United States.
It is true that people love low-cost carriers, despite their charging us for carry-on, frequently bumping passengers from flights, and asking for the name of our favorite child as a security question. But we didn't fully grasp how much this love changed the industry until UpgradedPoints used year-over-year data from the most current numbers available to give a 12-month analysis of the 100 largest airports in the US, in order to determine which hubs were growing and declining, and why.
In its final report the site noted that, as low-cost carrier growth has expanded to more medium-sized airports, it has resulted in "big increases in routes and passengers."
Here are the results of the study, including how much each airport has grown or declined:
The top 15 fastest growing airports
1. Nashville International - 16.15%
2. Jacksonville International - 16.05%
3. Pensacola International - 15.83%
4. Gerald R Ford International - 15.53%
5. Portland International Jetport - 14.79%
6. Norman Y Mineta San Jose International - 14.71%
7. Savannah/Hilton Head International - 13.78%
8. Austin-Bergstrom International - 13.23%
9. Fresno Yosemite International - 13.03%
10. Charleston AFB/International - 12.70%
11.Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International - 12.59%
12. Syracuse Hancock International - 12.48%
13. Richmond International - 12.41%
14. Hollywood Burbank Airport - 11.58%
15. Louisville Muhammad Ali International - 11.46%
The six airports in decline
1. Minneapolis-St Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain: -8.27%
2. Ronald Reagan Washington National: -5.98%
3. Chicago Midway International: -4.05%
4. Luis Munoz Marin International: -2.14%
5. Manchester (MHT): -1.21%
6. James M Cox Dayton International: -0.26%
You can check out the report for specific details on the growth of each airport but, aside from more budget airline routes, growth was due to factors like multimillion-dollar improvement projects and increased destination options.
As for the declining airports, the report provided inadequate explanations for most airports, though it is worth noting that Chicago Midway International's results may have a lot to do with Southwest having to cancel 240 flights because they ran out of de-icing fluid. Only in Chicago, folks!