August 24, 2009

U.S. airport delays down traffic thins

Traffic is down at big U.S. airports, and so are delays for passengers, aviation officials say.

The Federal Aviation Administration says passenger traffic is down 9 percent from last year at major airports, and significant delays have dropped by more than 25 percent from levels in 2007 and 2008, USA Today reported Monday.

With the airline industry restructuring some airports have had drastic decreases in passenger counts, the newspaper said.

FAA figures indicate, for example, that Cincinnati, which had more than 500,000 arrivals and departures in 2003, is on pace for fewer than 200,000 this year, and airports such as Pittsburgh and St. Louis have had their traffic drop by as much as two-thirds.

NewYork's three major airports remained overcrowded and continue to drag down the performance of the overall system, but nearly unanimous improvements in delays have been seen elsewhere, USA Today said.

One big reason for that was the opening of a new runway at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, easing that notorious air traffic choke-point, officials sai