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Travel drops through Medford airport in February

 Posted: 12:20 PM March 19, 2014

Passenger activity continued to slide at the Medford airport.

Last month was the slowest February in five years at the county-owned airfield as the head count passing through the gates slipped to 40,239, the fewest since 2009's 36,136 total.

Chuck Brook, who owns Express Travel in Medford, thinks it's simply a matter of dollars and cents.

"Prices are up across the board, continue to creep up and I don't see any end in sight," Brook said. "Whether it's Las Vegas, Denver, Los Angeles or Miami, you see them creeping up continually."

Although it takes a connecting flight just to get to Hawaii, the cost of flying to and vacationing in the 50th state has climbed.

"We've been getting a lot of complaints about airfares being too high," Brook said. "A local lady told us the same trip that cost her $2,200 10 years ago now costs $5,000 for hotel, air and car. It just seems like everywhere we check, the prices are going up for all those things."

For the year, passenger travel is down 2.9 percent to 81,585 from 84,028 in 2013.

Alaska Air Group unit Horizon Air, the top carrier in the market, accounted for half of the total travel and saw a 1.6 percent increase during the month. Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, the smallest of the four carriers, jumped 18.8 percent. Sky West operations United Express (down 15. 2 percent) and Delta Connection (down 6.5 percent) both were well off 2013 levels.

"Airlines have found a way to make money with all the additional fees and baggage charges,' Brook said. "We haven't seen an increase in what folks are making, but prices continue rising even when wages don't."

— Greg Stiles

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