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BTS Numbers Show Continued Decline In Airline Traffic

Passenger Numbers Plummet 5.1 Percent In August

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on US airlines during the first eight months of 2008 declined by 1.4 percent from the same period in 2007, dropping to 516.2 million, 7.3 million fewer than a year earlier, the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported Friday.

BTS reported US airlines carried 2.1 percent fewer domestic passengers and 4.1 percent more international passengers during the first eight months of 2008 than during the same period in 2007. In August, the most recent data month, US airlines carried 67.7 million scheduled domestic and international passengers, 5.1 percent fewer than in August 2007, the sixth consecutive monthly decline from the same month of the previous year. The number of domestic passengers decreased 6.1 percent in August from a year earlier and international passengers increased 2.0 percent.

The combined domestic and international system load factor of 80.5 percent for January through August was down 0.7 load factor points from last year's record for the eight-month period.

Southwest Airlines carried more total system and more domestic passengers for the first eight months than any other US airline, while American Airlines carried more international passengers than any other US carrier.

More total system and domestic passengers boarded planes in the first eight months at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International than at any other US airport, and more international passengers boarded US carriers at Miami International than at any other US airport. 

Among US airlines, Southwest carried 70.6 million passengers on its system in the first eight months of 2008, the most of any airline. In August, Southwest carried 9.0 million passengers on its system, the most of any airline. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was the busiest US airport in the first eight months of 2008, with 29.1 million domestic and international passenger boardings. In August, ATL was the busiest US airport with 3.9 million domestic and international passenger boardings on US carriers.

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