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March air travel through Medford sets a new record

 Posted: 11:55 AM April 09, 2014

Rogue Valley air travel snapped out of an eight-month dive with a record March for passenger activity.

Some 52,151 travelers passed through the Medford airport gates, surpassing the 2008 mark of 50,420 and bringing the year-to-date mark close to the first three months of 2013.

"I'm feeling pretty good about March," said Airport Director Bern Case. "We had a good springback for travel and we've gotten past the weather issues and a variety of other things."

After seeing year-over-year declines of 3.2 percent in January and 2.6 percent in February, air travel perked up with a 3.6 percent gain over the 50,343 March 2013 figure. For the first three months of the year, the passenger count is 133,736, down less than half-of-a-percent from the first quarter of 2013.

Case was unsure what sparked the dramatic swing, but said it didn't hurt for schools to have multiple weeks off for spring break.

"It used to be easier to calculate what it would be like in spring, when everyone had the same week off," he said. "Now there are different times for different schools and states, so it's spread out over multiple weeks. I'm feeling pretty good about April, too."

There are 18 daily departures at present compared to 17 a year ago.

Allegiant Air saw a 38 percent year-over-year jump in passengers last month, while Alaska Air Group's Horizon Air picked up 3.8 percent over 2013, and Delta Connection had a 3 percent gain. United Express was down 10.3 percent.

— Greg Stiles

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