Bob Hope Airport parking lot B

A sign at Lot B at the Bob Hope Airport indicates there are 430 parking spaces available on Tuesday, November 4, 2013. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer / July 16, 2014)

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Bob Hope Airport officials said this week they want to better understand the “troubling” fluctuations in parking revenue.

“Historically, the number of passengers that would come in any given month was more or less reflective of the amount of parking revenue that we got. And common sense would dictate that,” said Dan Feger, the airport’s executive director during a meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday.

“In the last couple of years, sometimes it holds true and sometimes it doesn’t and it’s the ‘sometimes it doesn’t’ is what’s troubling to us,” he added.

Following a monthslong trend, parking revenues at Bob Hope Airport increased this past April even though passenger numbers declined.

Revenues rose about 1.8%, which is lower than what was budgeted, Feger said at the time, adding that airport officials had projected increases of 4% or 5% each month in their budget.

Parking revenues for April were roughly $1.6 million, up from about $1.57 million in April 2013.

The airport increased its parking fees this past December and January in some of its lots, which has helped drive up revenue.

Also, the airport no longer has to save a portion of parking funds to cover past litigation costs. After two years, airport officials have stopped allocating $1 from each parking transaction to cover a 2011 settlement with Lockheed Martin Corp.

But the unusual variations can be tracked back to fiscal year 2013 when from August to September — before the rate increases and the $1 allocation was still in effect — there was a decline in passengers but not in parking revenue. From October to November, however, the airport handled more passengers, but there was a drop in parking revenue.

During fiscal year 2014, which ended on June 30, correlations between passengers and parking revenues continued to be “out of kilter,” Feger said.

“We need to understand that,” he said. “Whether there’s a change in how our passengers are using our parking lots compared to traditional use or if we’re the victim of competition… or if we need to change how we price our lots.”

Airport officials will be looking at how many transactions are made at each lot and how long people leave their vehicles there.

“It could be a simple as business travelers are reducing the amount of time that they spend to avoid a third night or second night of hotel stay… so that will then affect your revenue stream,” Feger said.

Price does not seem to be a dominant factor, Feger said, because Lot A has been only $10 for many years. “That lot does not fill up,” he added.

One recent change that could be a factor is the closure of Lot B in January to save money during the slow season, according to airport officials.

“The temporary closure of Lot B may have stirred some of our business to our competitors,” he said.

Officials plan to reopen Lot B soon as an express-pay, credit-card-only lot, with no bus service, said airport spokeswoman Lucy Burghdorf. That change must be approved by the authority to be implemented, she added.

Feger said airfield officials plan to release a more detailed analysis of parking revenue at an authority meeting next month.