Detroit Metro Airport Status Update

Detroit Metro Airport Status Update

Unfortunately the annual number airline passengers traveling through Detroit Metro Airport has incurred a loss of about 22% of its available domestic flights since 2005 and Metro has lost 22% of its domestic passenger flights. Available passenger seating on the planes is also down by 27% while during the same period airfares have climbed 34%. The latest figures reveal that domestic airfare cost at Detroit Metro Airport has increased by a third which may be a partially to blame for the decrease in available flights and seating but concerns about the state of the city surely contribute to the issue as well. The airport is attempting to force the airlines to be more competitive by attracting more airline carriers to Metro offering discounted airfares to flying customers.

The issue is not only alarming at DTW but many of nation’s airports are suffering from the same type of declining numbers too. Many of the nation’s top 100 airports are experiencing a similar trend which is very troubling for the industry as figures indicate the numbers of flights declining while at the same time airfares are escalating higher and higher. Some of the nation’s airports have seen an increase in the number of passenger seats since 2005, such as Denver up 10%, Charlotte, N.C. up 20% and San Francisco up by 22%. Unfortunately the entire Midwest seems to be suffering from the economic distress of recent years not just Detroit with other airports reporting similar numbers regarding lost available passenger seating. Some of the other airports that lost passenger seats at about the same rate as Detroit’s 27% include cities such as Minneapolis down 25%, Chicago O’Hare down 25% and Grand Rapids down 18%.

Detroit Metro is a major hub for Delta Airlines accounting for nearly 80% of all flights offering travelers about 150 flights daily. Detroit also happens to be Delta’s gateway hub to Asia. Another one of Delta’s hub cities Cincinnati has lost 78% of its domestic flights since 2005 the figures reveal and Memphis has lost a staggering 54% but in September things got worse when Delta officially ended Memphis as a hub and slashed its routes offered to travelers in half.

With the upcoming merger of American Airlines and US Airways there will most likely be even more passenger seating availability lost as the airlines merge and consolidate routes as well. When the two airlines merge they will become Detroit’s second largest airline carrier accounting for more than 6% of the airport traffic starting early 2014. It will be interesting seeing what impact the merger will have concerning the airfares and flights available to passengers. After the merger only three major airlines will be left which consist of Delta Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines.

As with any industry competition is a necessary requirement in keeping fares low while expanding the number of flights. Competition will work as seen recently when Detroit Metro attracted Jet Blue to start offering passengers a discount option to Boston beginning March 10th  Delta Airlines rapidly lowered its fares to match that offered by Jet Blue while at the same time announcing additional service to and from Boston as well. Nonstop fares to Boston for March 10 and beyond fell from $430 round-trip to $198 practically overnight. Amazing what an impact a little competition can have and how quickly it benefits the consumer.

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