Passenger counts continue plunge |

Passenger counts continue plunge

The Associated Press

RENO- Turbulence continues in the passenger counts at the Reno airport. Last month’s tally was 9.7 percent behind March 2000 and the numbers are off 11.2 percent so far this year.

Airport Executive Director Krys Bart said that comes as no surprise.

Passenger counts have been on a steady decline since American Airlines’ takeover of Reno Air and subsequent flight reductions last July. Numbers are not expected to level off on a comparative year-to-year basis until July.

On the plus side for the airport, people who did fly found fewer empty seats next to them.

The average percentage of seats filled by paying passengers in March was the highest ever at 82 percent.

The decline in March was better than expected, Tom Medland, director of marketing and air service development, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. He said figures show 15 percent fewer flights and 19 percent fewer seats into Reno, so the airport was pleased with a less than 10 percent cut in passengers, to 501,241 for the month.

The airport also said that airlines’ average yield a measure of airline revenue on a cents-per-mile basis has increased a half-cent since September to 11.3 cents.

On the cargo side, total freight and mail weight which has been on the rise in recent years slipped below the March 2000 level. Airport officials believe a softening economy is affecting cargo activity.

In January, cargo rose 17.5 percent; a month later, the uptick slowed to 0.3 percent.

For the quarter, though, total cargo weight is running 4.3 percent ahead of last year. That compares to a 7.4 percent increase for all of 2000 to a record 111.7 million vs. 1999.

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