Air travelers still staying grounded

The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines and on flights to and from the United States on foreign airlines declined in 2009 by 5.3 percent from 2008, dropping to 769.6 million, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports.

BTS, in a release of preliminary data, reports that U.S. airlines carried 5.3 percent fewer total system passengers in 2009 than in 2008. U.S. airlines carried 5.2 percent fewer domestic passengers in 2009 and 6.3 percent fewer international passengers than in 2008. Passengers to and from the United States on foreign carriers decreased 4.8 percent from 2008.

Total passengers on U.S. airlines and on foreign airlines to and from the United States declined from the same month in 2008 in 10 of the 12 months. The largest decline of 12.4 percent took place in February. During the first six months of 2009, the number of passengers declined 9 percent from the same period in 2008. During the last six months, the decline was 1.4 percent.

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