The number of take-offs and landings during weekday business hours tallied by airport staff totaled 2,095 from January through May, a drop of 6 percent from a year ago.
The drop is not consistent in all categories. Planes from Jack Henry and Associates and EFCO, a Pella Company, tallied 355 flights, down 4 percent from a year ago. Compared to the beginning of 2009, in the middle of the economic downturn, flights for Monett's two biggest users of the airport are up by 60 percent. The current activity still remains far below the nearly 600 flights recorded in the first five months of 2005.
In contrast, business flights coming into Monett marked a sharp increase. Companies flying into Monett for business made 335 take-offs and landings, up nearly 18 percent from a year ago. The number equals the highest count of outside business flights coming to Monett in the same period recorded in 2006.
Combined, the business flights added up to 690 for the five-month period, up nearly 18 percent from a year ago and the highest count in four years. The count from 2005 through 2007 had run between 786 and 886.
The impact of the latest conditions showed up more on the count of independent or pleasure flights. In recent years, privately owned planes housed at the airport have been used more for business purposes. Planes kept in hangars at the airport not owned by Jack Henry or EFCO made 463 flights during the period, down 13 flights from a year ago. The count is nonetheless the second highest in the seven years that city employees have kept records on flight activity.
The same pattern held for flights coming into Monett either for the purchase of fuel or purposes not specifically identified as business. There were 942 independent or pleasure flights counted during the period. The total was down 19 percent from the upsurge recorded a year ago.
Incoming independent or pleasure flights still added up to the second largest for the period in the seven years the city has kept records, 12 higher than the third place count from 2009 when numbers started rising again.
The number of flights not attributed to business for the period totaled 1,405, down 14 percent from a year ago. Non-business flights have increased each year. The 8 percent rise between the 2009 and the 2011 count has been more typical. Between 2009 and 2010, the count jumped by 26 percent.
The 2,095 total flights for the period were again the second highest number on record, up 9 percent from the next highest total from 2007.
According to Airport Superintendent Howard Frazier, the after-hours and weekend flights add significantly to the overall total and in some months may double the recorded count. The beginning of the year generally has the lowest number of flights per month for any calendar year.