In a new study by Upgraded Points, data compiled from 2007 through 2017 highlights spikes in growth as well as sharp declines in some of America's most iconic airports. Though the numbers revealed some obvious names on the list, there were some surprising downward trends in a few of the biggest airports. Upgraded Points also examined possible reasons to explain the growing or declining rates.
Using data compiled by the Federal Aviation Administration, Upgraded Points examined each individual year between 2007 and 2017 (the last full year for which data was available). The study focuses on passenger enplanement, which is a count of all revenue boarding passengers at each airport, including through passengers. Only airports that had over three million passengers in 2007 were considered, serving as a baseline for data studied throughout the decade.
Fastest Growing Airports in the U.S.
Those airports that had more than 25 percent growth in 10 years placed in the Top 10. The top two were revealed as:
1. Dallas Love Field (DAL): Dallas Love Field expanded its flight destinations after certain competition laws were rescinded in 2014. DAL's location is also close to downtown, and the boom of Southwest has helped make it the fastest growing airport in this study.
2. Austin-Bergstrom International (AUS): In 10 years, the explosive growth of the Austin airport is undeniable. In a trend that is not expected to slow soon, Austin experienced as much as 12 percent growth in the years 2016 and 2017 alone. Though the airport is expanding to try and keep up, the increased domestic routes provided by AUS make facility expansion challenging.
Fastest Declining Airports in the U.S.
Airports making the Top 10 Fastest Declining list all had greater than 10 percent decline in the past 10 years. Those airports include:
1. Memphis International (MEM): Although Memphis is a growing region with a healthy economy, the decline in the airport traffic out of Memphis is clearly indicated. Those numbers reflect Delta's decision to gradually phase out its hub in Memphis and transfer that traffic to Atlanta though, rather than reflect any particular economic trend taking place in Memphis.
2. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG): Another casualty of Delta's hub shift, CVG also saw a steep decline in traffic over the past 10 years. But with Southwest entering the market in 2017, along with Frontier and Allegiant, airports like CVG are receiving a recent boost in revitalization that may continue to raise its flight traffic numbers over a long period.
The study includes all airports that made both Top 10 lists, a discussion of future predictions, as well as an overall analysis of trends related to a wide variety of airports. Many of the airports discussed serve as hubs for big carriers like United, American, Delta and JetBlue.