Airport fare stats clarified

July 26, 2010
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Editor,

This memo pertains to ongoing references in the news media regarding airfare levels at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

In a recent U.S. DOT ranking, GFIA was listed as having the second-highest average one-way fare among the “top 100” busiest commercial service airports in the United States. In several instances, this DOT ranking has been either misreported, or reported in such a manner as to convey an incomplete and unfair representation of airfares at GFIA.

First, a common error has been to report that GFIA “has the second highest fares in the country.” This, in fact, is not true. The DOT ranking showed GFIA with the second-highest average fare among the “top 100” busiest airports. News reports that fail to include this “top 100” qualifier wrongly represent the relative fare levels at GFIA.

A more meaningful and representative comparison would be to report GFIA fares vs. all commercial service airports (over 400) in the United States. When reporting on GFIA fares relative to this comprehensive list of all U.S. commercial service airports, one would find that GFIA’s average fare would be much further down the list on the ranking of fare levels. In fact, based on current data, GFIA would rank 203rd on the list of average fares. (www.transtats.bts.gov/AverageFare

Second, DOT ranking (and news media reporting of same) fails to highlight the average fare at GFIA relative to: 1) other airports within the region, and 2) airports of similar size across the country. In both instances, the average fare at GFIA would compare quite favorably (and, in fact, would be among the lowest in most cases), and the reporting of such comparisons would provide a more comprehensive and balanced view of GFIA fare levels than simply (and incorrectly) reporting “second highest fares in the country.”

James A. Koslosky
Executive Director
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

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