When will this recession end? I'd really like to know and I bet you would too. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it will end any time soon. Ohio has been especially hard hit by the down economy. We have a high concentration of auto related industry in our region, and the aftershock of both Chrysler and GM bankruptcies are still jolting our economy. It's not all bad though. A recent Team NEO study measuring Scientific and Technical Services growth was very encouraging for our region. Over the past 15 years, the study calculated a near 80% increase in investment. That's good news! The region needs these types of R/D investments to pull out of the economic doldrums now rocking the country.
Airlines (and therefore airports) are struggling right now as well. Ticket demand, particularly business and international traffic, is way down compared to last year. Many experts believe that there are still too many seats being offered in the US market, even with the dramatic cuts made by airlines in the later half of 2008 and throughout 2009. USA Today offers a great mapping feature to see real time reductions in airline seat capacity. More cuts are on the way too.
So, how is CAK faring in all this turmoil? So far, so good. Our passenger figures are up 1.3% for the first half of 2009 compared to the same period last year. That means that our cash flow is relatively stable and we don't have to make any dramatic cuts to our people, capital plans or other investments. We've had a couple of air service wins too- a new flight to DC aboard US Airways and AirTran Airways is commencing new flights to Ft. Lauderdale later this year. We are luckier than most. We may not post another record year in 2009, but I think we'll be close to even and in this economy, that is a really good story.