Air Travel Dipped In September But Still Higher Than 2005

Sunday, October 29th 2006, 9:24 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Fewer people flew out of airports in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton in September than in August, but there were still more passengers flying this year than in 2005, officials said.

``It's getting hard to predict any more,'' Will Rogers World Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said of flying trends.

The number of passengers catching flights out of Will Rogers in September increased 1.76 percent over 2005. Carney attributed the year-over-year growth to military travel, flights by sports teams' fans to away games and United Airlines' new nonstop flight to Los Angeles. United started the service in early September.

``I think that helped us, and we're extremely excited about that,'' Carney said.

Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport saw 4,115 passengers fly out last month, a 4 percent increase from the year before. Airport manager Barbara McNally said Lawton has at least one reliable aviation trend: military travel.

``That's a really good trend for us,'' McNally said. ``You can't beat that.''

The approaching holiday travel season is forecast to be busier and more crowded this year.

Carney said Thanksgiving travel probably will be spread across more days than past years because many airlines have decreased their number of seats. Planes will be fuller and more people will have to fly on non-traditional days like Mondays and Tuesdays, she said.

``We anticipate it to be busy because these past few months we've been really busy,'' said Alexis Higgins, marketing coordinator for Tulsa International Airport.

Passenger departures were up 0.22 percent in September at Tulsa International, with 126,243 travelers flying compared with 125,956 departures in 2005, numbers show.