6 Data Points that Suggest Air Travel Looks Headed for Comeback

by: Mark J. Perry

1. AIRPORTS COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL -- World passenger traffic posted a positive growth rate in August for the first time since June 2008. Passenger demand finally registered a modest positive growth rate in August 2009 with the world airports reporting a 0.1 percent increase compared to August 2008. International passenger traffic declined slightly by 2 percent while domestic traffic increased dramatically by 3 percent in 2009.

2. Traffic is up at Nashville International Airport. The one month reversal follows 18 straight months of declines. Since February of 2008, passenger numbers have fallen every month until now. September figures climbed roughly 3 percent over the same period last year.

3. After 18 consecutive months of declines, Los Angeles International Airport finally reported a slight uptick in passenger traffic in September, according to figures released Wednesday. More than 4.5 million airline passengers traveled through LAX last month, a 1 percent increase from September 2008, airport officials said.

4. Kansas City International Airport had 792,533 passengers in September, up 1.1 percent from 783,872 in the same month last year, the Kansas City Aviation Department said.

5. After more than a year of declining passenger numbers, the count of travelers using Salt Lake City International Airport turned upward this summer as airlines added or restored service. June, July and August showed a promising reversal of a downward trend that began in April 2007, airport officials said Monday.

6. Denver International Airport said Wednesday it recorded 4,877,212 passengers in August, below July's all-time record of 5,109,342 but up 2.3 percent from last August's tally of 4,768,799. It was the busiest August on record for DIA and the second month of year-over-year traffic increases following recession-driven passenger declines dating back to last December.