Editorial: >Like the sound of that.

We're No. 1.


Like the sound of that.

Could it be another of those rankings for Best Small Towns in America (Smithsonian Magazine says Naples is in the Top 10) or Happiest Seaside Towns (Coastal Living Magazine says Naples is No. 2)?

The No. 1 title is a rating, yes, but this one is not necessarily a good thing.

Airline ticket prices for Southwest Florida International Airport rose more than at any other domestic airport between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011, says the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Ticket prices were an average of $247 in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to an average of $313 a year later.

Airport officials caution that there is more to the story. They say air fares in general are going up and Southwest Florida International remains a comparative bargain, ranked 86th in fares among the top 100 airports in the nation; Miami is 63rd and Tampa is 85th.

Also, the rising ticket prices may reflect longer trips in and out, which are regarded as plusses for the airport and its passengers, who do have other choices.

At the same time, it is important for airport management and Lee County government to keep an eye on all this. It behooves them to jawbone the airlines.

Internet-savvy travelers monitor fares and spread the word.

With 7.5 million people flying in and out on scheduled airline flights last year, the magnitude of the impact of this economic engine becomes clear.

Just as the airport pays close attention to costs of parking services offered by off-site competitors, officials can do what they can to help the traveling public. It all adds up.

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