GCNP airport traffic<br>down 6 percent in 2000

TUSAYAN — Grand Canyon National Park Airport numbers were down 5.9 percent last year compared to 1999, the administration office reported.

Enplanement-deplanement totals fell from 1,196,074 in 1999 to 1,125,092 in 2000. That fall of 70,182 did not concern acting airport manager Russ Pankey.

"We were real close in enplanements," Pankey said. "That really pleased me with everything going on."

The final month of the year saw a 15.8 percent decrease. In 1999, the boarding numbers totaled 22,013. That fell to 18,524 in December 2000.

Among the tenant air-tour operators, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters continued to put up big numbers. Papillon’s number of air tours were down 4 percent, but they were above 26,000 for the third straight year.

Kenai Helicopters was down slightly while AirStar was up slightly.

The biggest increase was seen by Air Grand Canyon, which merged with Windrock last year. The company saw a 35 percent increase in the number of tours.

Grand Canyon Airlines experienced a decrease of 45.9 percent.

Overall, air tours over the Grand Canyon were down 2.8 percent. In 2000, there were 42,166 tours with the busiest month being September, when 6,165 tours were flown.

Since 1997, the top year for air tour operators has been 1999 when 43,326 were flown. In the same four-year period, the lowpoint came in 1997 with 41,038.

Pankey said GCNP Airport ranked 65th in the country for aircraft tower movements.

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