PALM SPRINGS – Palm Springs International Airport officials are keeping tight control on spending in response to a decline in passenger traffic, leading to a drop in revenue, the airport’s executive director said Tuesday.
“We are controlling our expenses extremely tightly in anticipation that people are flying less at the moment,” Tom Nolan said.
The airport served 165,315 passengers in February, down 14.3 percent from 192,857 in February 2008, according to the Statistical Data section on the city’s Web site.
January numbers this year were also off from the previous year, but not as dramatically as February. January passenger traffic this year was down 9.3 percent when compared to January 2008. There were 152,240 passengers in January this year compared to 167,921 in January of last year.
Nolan said it was too early to predict how the March travel figures will wind up. He said the figures will not be known until the airport’s 11 airlines report the number of passengers at the end of the month.
The airport is also reviewing how the decrease in passengers will impact projected revenue for the year, Nolan said. In December, airport officials had projected that 2009 airport revenue would be down 5 percent compared to 2008.
Nolan said the airport is seeing less traffic because of the “worldwide economic downturn.”
“We do know the Coachella Valley is viewed as a leisure destination and leisure is part of discretionary spending,” Nolan said. “The airport is obviously impacted by the expenditure habits of people.”
The Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism announced in January that it was tapping into low-cost marketing techniques by advertising the city via a blog, e-mail, newsletter and a new section on the city’s tourism Web site.
The newsletter and blog contain information about upcoming events and vacation packages.
The city has been focusing on attracting tourists from nearby Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. It has also been trying to attract students for spring break.