Over the last decade, there has been some community concern about how individual projects built at the Airport may strongly influence the number of flight operations at the Airport. However, a review of historical annual flight operations at the Airport reveals that there is no one local variable that significantly influences the number of flight operations. Rather, the number of flight operations is influenced by macroeconomic trends that are difficult if not impossible to predict.
Starting with the 1975 Airport Master Plan, forecasts of aircraft operations at Livermore have varied significantly and have not correlated with subsequent actual operations. Flight operations were originally predicted to be over 340,000 operations annually, yet current annual operations are in the range of only 138,000 operations. Aviation forecast are typically related to the population base within the region the airport serves along with the region’s economic strength, and the ability of the region to sustain a strong economic base over an extended period of time. Aside from regional socioeconomics, the national economy (interest rates; cost of insurance, fuel, parts, etc.) plays a significant role in the overall affordability to operate and maintain most privately-owned General Aviation aircraft.
As a practical illustration, the last major installation of hangars in the late 1980’s was followed by an increase in flight operations to over 282,000 in 1993. But since that time flight operations have actually decreased to approximately 138,000 flight operations annually. Thus, there is no direct enduring correlation between hangar facilities and flight operations in this example. Further, flights to airports are made to serve the needs of passengers, recreational pilots, and cargo transportation, not to obtain aviation services that are found at most general aviation airports throughout the Bay Area.
The following graph shows how flight operations have changed since the mid-1980’s: