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"Phila. airport on track to exceed a passenger record set last year"


 
Monday, December 25, 2006

Phila. airport on track to exceed a passenger record set last year
By Tom Belden
The Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer


Earlier this year, Philadelphia International Airport officials doubted that
they could top their record of 31.5 million passengers who got on or off
flights at the airport in 2005. Now, the officials are happy to say, they
were probably wrong.

Based on passenger counts through October and airline estimates for traffic
in November and December, the airport projects a little less than 31.7
million - 31,652,862 to be exact - people will have come and gone this year.

The expectation of a decline in passengers was based on changes that US
Airways, the airline with almost two-thirds of the traffic here, made in its
schedules last winter. To save money, the airline switched numerous flights
from larger 737 and A320 jets to smaller regional jets, reducing the number
of airplane seats available.

But demand from both business and leisure customers remained strong all year
for most carriers. US Airways is expected to have about the same number of
passengers this year as in 2005. The airport's No. 2 carrier, Southwest
Airlines, is projected to have about 20 percent more passengers after
starting two new nonstop routes and adding flights on existing routes.

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