Seattle and San Francisco bucking US airport trends; traffic down at seven of Top 20 airports

Analysis of monthly passenger data as published by US airports on their websites reveals that seven of the top 20 US airports are reporting a downturn in traffic in their latest monthly year-to-date traffic summaries.

Chart: US top 10 airports traffic growth 2008 YTD
Source: Airport websites

Among the top 10 busiest airports traffic is down at half of them. Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix airports have all been less busy in the first few months of this year despite the extra day in February. Only Orlando has reported a better than 5% growth so far this year, but its May traffic was virtually flat suggesting it will struggle to maintain this level of growth.

Chart: Other major US airports growth 2008 YTD
Source: Airport websites

Among the next 10 busiest airports only Boston and New York LaGuardia are reporting year-to-date traffic reductions. Seattle and San Francisco have had the best start to the year but will struggle to end the year with growth of more than 5%.

April traffic down for 13 of 19 top airports

Only Atlanta has yet to report its April traffic data, but of the remaining top 20 airports 13 reported a fall in traffic. Only San Francisco (+5.4%), Seattle (+3.5%), Charlotte (+3%), Orlando (+2.4%), Denver (+1.0%) and Detroit (+1.0%) reported passenger number growth in April. Some of this may be due to the earlier Easter but among airports that have reported traffic data for May, four out of ten have revealed a downturn in traffic.


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