HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Huntsville International Airport has retained its unwanted title as America's most expensive airport, while also bucking a national trend that shows airfares decreasing in most other places.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average airfare out of Huntsville is a staggering $547, nearly thirty dollars higher than the second-most expensive airport, and a whopping $169 higher than the national average of $378. It's the fourth consecutive quarter that Huntsville International Airport has topped the notorious list.
The data from the DOT was compiled during the second quarter of 2013, the most recent reporting period available. The list also shows that Huntsville is one of only five airports ranked in the top fifty where fares actually increased from the same timeframe in 2012. Huntsville's year-to-year fares increased by nearly seven percent, even as the national average fell by 3.6 percent.
Airport spokeswoman Barbie Peek says the airport has done everything they can to fight rising prices, and remains at the mercy of the airlines. Airport officials continue to blame Huntsville's disproportionate number of business travelers for the high prices, with roughly three out of five air passengers falling into that category.
"We do not want to be on top of this list as number one," said Peek. "With it being a strong business market, the airlines understand the dynamics of that, and they will charge what the market will bear...We've done everything we can within our legal ability to try to incentivize and encourage the airlines to look at us differently, and to help us solve the problem...they have taken advantage of some things, and some they're not interested in taking advantage of."
Peek said Huntsville's airport fees remain average compared to others in the region, and that lowering them would not make any difference on actual fares for passengers. Airport officials believe the DOT's reporting data is flawed since it only factors in originating passengers.