RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And here's a hint though, that the global economy is picking up. Airline travel is up. And in the U.S., a few airports are seeing their first gains in 18 months.
From member station WPLN in Nashville, Blake Farmer reports.
BLAKE FARMER: The number of passengers flying into and out of Nashville International Airport has dropped every month since February 2008, until now.
September figures climbed 3 percent over last year, and the numbers have at least the makings of a trend.
Airport operations Chief Monty Burgess says he hasn't found irregularities.
Mr. MONTY BURGESS (Airport Chief of Operations, Nashville International Airport): I don't know that there's any one single event or activity that can really speak to why the passenger traffic increase.
FARMER: Like Nashville, airports in Los Angeles and Kansas City also posted their first passenger gains in a year and a half.
Mr. KEVIN SCHORR (Vice President, Air Service Development, InterVISTAS Consulting Group): On an industry-wide basis here in the United States, the numbers are still down.
FARMER: Kevin Schorr is an airline analyst with InterVISTAS Consulting Group. He says passenger growth remains isolated to a handful of airports in the U.S. for now.
Mr. SCHORR: I think the airlines are feeling a bit more bullish than they did in the past and most of them, I do believe, see some kind of rebound coming.
FARMER: According to the Airport Council International, worldwide air traffic has improved to a bit better than flat. Schorr says the real test is whether air travel rebounds during the upcoming holiday season.
For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer in Nashville.
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