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Air traffic finally takes off

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines in Sept. 2009 increased by 0.8 percent from Sept. 2008, growing by 0.5 million to 54.7 million, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

September was the first month with an increase in passengers from the previous year since March 2008 following 17 consecutive months of decreases.

BTS, in a release of preliminary data, reported that U.S. airlines carried 1.2 percent more domestic passengers than in Sept. 2008. International passengers on U.S. carriers decreased 1.7 percent.

For the first nine months of 2009, the number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines declined by 6.8 percent from the same period in 2008, dropping to 533.3 million, 38.8 million fewer than a year earlier, and the lowest January-to-September total since 2004.

U.S. airlines carried 6.7 percent fewer domestic passengers and 7.6 percent fewer international passengers in the first nine months of 2009 than during the same period in 2008.

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