The combination of high fuel prices and diminished ridership in the wake of the recession has left airlines struggling to boost profit margins.
The 10.6 percent hike in Boise fares is more than double the national average fare increase over the last year. And it occurred over the course of a year in which the Boise Airport saw airlines reduce the number of flights in and out of the city.
Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp says it’s not a surprise to see fares go up, in light of those changes. “I would say it was the airlines’ intent,” she says. “When they reduced capacity, they did it with the expectation that they would be able to raise fares.”
This spring, a Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce committee decided that preserving and expanding air service would be its chief focus. The Boise Airport, meanwhile, applied for a $1 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant that could allow it to attract a direct flight between Boise and a southern or southeastern hub.
Hupp says that despite the rise in Boise fares, the average flight cost to and from the city is only marginally higher than the average flight cost from any of the country’s top 100 airports. “It took the Boise average fare from $339 to $375,” she explains. “The average fare paid from the top 100 airports is $372. So the Boise fare is very much in-line with the national average.”