Palm Springs International Airport is growing

Passenger traffic in Palm Springs is growing, though it remains highly seasonal. Photo: Paul Sableman, via Creative Commons.

Passenger traffic in Palm Springs is growing, though it remains highly seasonal. Photo: Paul Sableman, via Creative Commons.

Just about every airport of its size in the country is steadily losing passengers, but not Palm Springs International Airport.

According to a story today in the Desert Sun, passenger traffic was up 7 percent in the first three months of 2014, compared to the same period last year. Palm Springs even has seasonal service to the Midwest — Chicago on American Airlines — and the East Coast, with once-weekly flights to New York on Virgin America. It also has flights to Canada on Westjet.

Yes, it’s no LAX. But compared to L.A./Ontario International Airport, which is 74 miles to the west, Palm Springs is in pretty good shape. (There are a bunch of reasons Palm Springs is doing better, but one of them is that Palm Springs is more of a destination people want to travel to. Being a tourism hub has its benefits.)

PSP weatherThat’s the good news. The less good news? Palm Springs is one of the most seasonal destinations in the nation. Airlines add flights starting in the fall and start to drop them off in May. You probably know why. But in case you don’t, take a look at this week’s weather report, and you’ll figure it out. Palm Spring is not a happy place to be in the summer. In Yiddish, we call it a shvitz.

Here are some of the airlines now pulling back, according to the Desert Sun.

Virgin America already suspended its daily Palm Springs-to-San Francisco route and weekly service into John F. Kennedy International in New York, while American Airlines will close its nonstop route into Chicago in early June. Frontier Airlines will end its seasonal flights to Denver on Wednesday, said Kate O’Malley, manager of corporate communications for Frontier.

Alaska Airlines also alters its summer Palm Springs schedule, a spokeswoman told the newspaper.

“Palm Springs demand is very seasonal, with traffic shrinking substantially in the summer months,” Lindsey continued, via email. “In order to maintain acceptable performance levels and more accurately match supply to demand, we seasonally reduce our PSP flying during the summer.”

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