U.S. Air Carriers Reach| 5-Year Low on Passengers


     WASHINGTON (CN) – The number of passengers flown by U.S. air carriers has reached a five-year low, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics announced Tuesday. In that diminished market, Southwest Airlines was dominant with 8.2 million passengers.

     Air travel is an indicator of economic health, said Dave Smallen, spokesman for the bureau.
     During the first 11 months of 2009, only 647 million passengers flew on American carriers, which is 39 million fewer than the same period in 2008.
     The data compares only the first 11 months of 2009 with that of 2008 because December data of last year has yet to be published.
     Last November, Southwest Airlines carried the most domestic passengers of any other U.S. carrier, at 8.2 million. American Airlines carried more international passengers, at 1.5 million, after a 2.3 percent decrease in international travel.

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