More Travelers Take To The Skies Airport traffic is up for the first time in more than a year. In Nashville alone, September passenger traffic rose 3 percent after 18 straight months of declines. The change could be a sign people are feeling more confident about the economy.
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More Travelers Take To The Skies

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More Travelers Take To The Skies

More Travelers Take To The Skies

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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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