• The average domestic airfare to fly from Fresno, counting connecting flights, was about $433 last summer.
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• The airport with the highest average domestic airfare among the nation’s 100 busiest airports was Cincinnati at $532; the least expensive was Mesa, Arizona, at about $100.
• The average airfare itinerary cost among the top 100 airports was reported at $391.
The average passenger paid about $433 to fly last summer from Fresno to wherever they were going and back again, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The statistics for the third quarter of 2014 show that tickets for domestic flights from Fresno Yosemite International ranked 29th highest among the nation’s 100 busiest airports for the period from July 1 through Sept. 30. The figure is based on the total ticket value for a passenger’s entire itinerary — either round-trip or one-way — including flight connections to other destinations in the U.S. A year earlier, in the third quarter of 2013, the average price from Fresno was reported at just under $415.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that the highest average airfare out of the 100 largest airports — which are ranked according to the total number of domestic passengers in 2013 — was $532 from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Ohio. The lowest was just under $100 at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona. The average itinerary cost among the 100 largest airports was about $391.
Fresno ranks as the 97th busiest airport in the U.S. in passenger volume; however, its place in the upper one-third of the price list reflects the need for many passengers flying to the East Coast to take multiple flights, typically connecting through major airline hubs such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City or Dallas to reach their ultimate destination and return home. For the three-month period reported Friday, about 3,230 airline flights departed from Fresno-Yosemite International, carrying nearly 170,000 passengers.
But a look at airports outside the 100 largest underscores the challenges faced by passengers flying from some even smaller markets, where flight options are often very limited and more than one stop frequently is needed to reach a destination. Federal data for 438 U.S. airports shows that the highest average airfare for an itinerary last summer was almost $1,500, paid by passengers flying from Carlsbad, New Mexico. Alaska was home to five of 11 U.S. airports for which the average itinerary cost more than $950 per passenger.
Among all 438 reporting airports, 261 had higher total itinerary airfares than Fresno.