Memorial Day begins summer vacation and driving season, and Iowans also are continuing to take to the skies once again. Glenn Januska, manager of the Sioux City airport, says there’s been a “little bit of a rebound” since the slump in travel that followed the attacks of September 11th, 2001. We’re heading into the peak travel season and he says despite some concerns about terrorism and fuel prices, people are going to be flying. The Sioux Gateway airport has struggled with its own unique problems. He says Sioux City’s lost some of its market to Omaha, where there are more airlines and lower fares, and though people are traveling as much, they’re not using the Sioux City airport because of what he calls “fare discrepancies.” Januska says the airport can’t move or change its ticket prices, so for some travelers it’ll pay to drive to Omaha and fly from there. He says as long as airfares are priced within a “reasonable amount of Omaha,” the Sioux City airport can compete very well. On the other side of the state, Bruce Carter is director of aviation at the Quad-Cities International Airport, which has a better position geographically to serve lots of people. It’s halfway between Des Moines and Chicago, and he says with six airlines going to ten nonstop destinations, it can offer lots of reasons to fly from the Quad Cities instead of driving to some other airport or to a destination. In 2003, he says there were 407-thousand emplanements, a record for people flying in and out of the Quad Cities, and for the first four months of this year passenger numbers are up three-percent over last year, which he says shows people are getting more comfortable again with the idea of air travel. High gas prices may drive motorists to consider going by air instead, but Carter admits the cost of crude also puts more pressure on airlines. He says the high cost of jet fuel dips into their profit margin and he says a lot of airlines are suffering. The Burlington Regional Airport saw passenger traffic level off following the 9-11 attacks, but airport manager Sharon Leeper says things are picking up. After a 25-year low last year, the Waterloo Municipal Airport is back on track. About 34-hundred passengers flew out of Waterloo in July of last year. This July, officials expect about five thousand to use the Waterloo airport. In Mason City, aviation director Pam Osgood says the planes are full and with six flights a day the airport showed a three-point-six-percent increase in travel last year.
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