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BTS Says Airline Traffic Continues To Decline

YTD Numbers Down Nearly One Percent; July Falls 2.9 Percent

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on US airlines during the first seven months of 2008 declined by 0.8 percent from the same period in 2007, dropping to 448.5 million, 3.6 million less than a year earlier, the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Friday in a release of preliminary data.

BTS adds US airlines carried 1.5 percent fewer domestic passengers and 4.5 percent more international passengers during the first seven months of 2008 than during the same period in 2007. 

In July, the most recent data month, US airlines carried 70.3 million scheduled domestic and international passengers, 2.9 percent less than in July 2007, the fifth consecutive monthly decline from the same month of the previous year. The number of domestic passengers decreased 3.5 percent in July from a year earlier and international passengers increased 1.3 percent.

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

Among US airlines, Southwest carried 61.6 million passengers on its system in the first seven months of 2008, the most of any airline. In July, Southwest carried 9.4 million passengers on its system, the most of any airline.

Among airports, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was the busiest US airport in the first seven months of 2008, with 25.3 million domestic and international passenger boardings. In July, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was the busiest US airport with 4.1 million domestic and international passenger boardings on US carriers.

On the international side, American carried 12.8 million international passengers in the first seven months of 2008, and 2.1 million in July -- the most of any US airline on both counts. Miami International was the busiest US airport for international travel on US, with 3.0 million international passenger boardings through the first seven months of 2008 and 490,100 international passenger boardings in July.

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