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Downward Trend Continues For Airline Traffic In November

System Traffic Down 12.8 Percent Over 2007 Level; Load Factors Drop As Well

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on US airlines in November 2008 declined by 12.8 percent from November 2007, dropping by 7.9 million to 54.0 million in the largest decrease from the same month of the previous year since January 2002, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Thursday.

November was the ninth consecutive month with a decrease in passengers from 2007... reflecting both the airlines' efforts to cut capacity, and growing reluctance among the general public to spend money on airline travel. BTS reported US airlines carried 13.6 percent fewer domestic passengers than in November 2007 in the largest year-to-year percent decline since November 2001. International passengers on US carriers decreased 6.8 percent, the largest year-to-year decline since May 2003.

For the first 11 months of 2008, the number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on US airlines declined by 3.5 percent from the same period in 2007, dropping to 684.1 million, 24.7 million fewer than a year earlier.

US airlines carried 4.2 percent fewer domestic passengers and 1.8 percent more international passengers in the first 11 months of 2008 than during the same period in 2007.

The combined domestic and international system load factor of 79.6 percent for January through November was down 0.7 load factor points from last year’s record for the 11-month period. Both domestic and international load factor dropped over November 2007 levels, the latter falling 4.1 percentage points.

Southwest Airlines carried more total system and more domestic passengers for the first 11 months than any other US airline, while American Airlines carried more international passengers than any other US carrier.

Among airports, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was the busiest US airport in the first 11 months of 2008, with 39.6 million domestic and international passenger boardings. In November, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was the busiest US airport with 3.4 million domestic and international passenger boardings on US carriers.

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