Passenger traffic at KCI Airport down again

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Passenger traffic at Kansas City International Airport was down again in November, the third consecutive monthly decline over the previous year since the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings, the Kansas City Aviation Department said.

The number of passengers arriving at and departing from KCI in November was 856,454, a 15.2 percent drop from November 2000, the department's newly released figures show.

November's decrease follows a 27.6 percent drop in September, when the airport was closed for two days after hijackers flew commercial jets into New York's World Trade Centers, Washington's Pentagon and the ground in Pennsylvania, killing about 3,000 people.

Passenger traffic also fell in October, a 13.9 percent slump over the same month in 2000. The dips combine to trigger a roughly 2 percent decrease at KCI for the first 11 months of 2001, compared with the same period last year.

November's traffic was even lower than October's, despite a surge from traditionally heavy Thanksgiving travel.

"It is certainly disconcerting," KCI spokesman Joe McBride said. "We hope we can get back on track and have some positive growth."

An estimated 340,000 travelers used KCI the week and a half around Thanksgiving, the busiest travel period of the year. That's down about 8 percent from last year.

While the airport was crowded that week, as evidenced by full satellite parking lots, traffic before the holiday was slow, McBride said.

"The Thanksgiving numbers were not enough to skew the total numbers upward," he said.

The 15.2 percent decline in passenger boardings at KCI were still better than the national average of 19.5 percent for domestic flights and 23.4 percent for international flights.

All the nation's airports were closed for two days after the attacks, and people have been reluctant to return to the skies. Many airlines have cut their flight schedules.

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