July 9, 2008

DIA Sets Record for Passengers Served in May

By Chris Walsh

Travelers continued to flock to the skies in May, despite rising airfares, helping Denver International Airport set record traffic numbers for the month.The airport handled 4.45 million passengers in May, a 3.5 percent spike from the same period in 2007, according to a monthly report. It ranked as the busiest May in DIA's history and the 17th consecutive month in which passenger traffic set a record when compared with the same period a year earlier.The airport's growth has continued this summer. On Sunday, for example, the airport had its busiest day ever. But the monthly streak of records could end later this year as consumers cut back on flying amid fare increases and increasing financial strains."May's number supports our belief that traffic numbers at DIA will continue to be strong through the busy summer travel season," Kim Day, DIA's aviation manager, said in a news release. "But we are expecting passenger loads to drop off somewhat in the final months of the year because of the airlines' announced plans to reduce capacity as a cost- cutting measure."DIA's two largest tenants - United Airlines and Frontier Airlines - are shedding planes, laying off workers and eliminating flights to counter rising fuel costs. The dip in supply will allow them to hike prices, which should put a damper on demand.The airport said its passenger traffic is up 4 percent through May. The number of takeoffs and landings rose 3.3 percent during the month compared with a year earlier, partially the result of new service from Southwest Airlines.

Originally published by Chris Walsh, Rocky Mountain News.

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