Reno air passenger count sharply down since Sept. 11 attacks |

Reno air passenger count sharply down since Sept. 11 attacks

The Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Passenger counts at Reno-Tahoe International Airport have dropped sharply since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast, airport officials said Thursday.

Passenger volume plummeted 34.9 percent at the airport in September compared with the same month a year ago, officials said.

But while some other cities have experienced declines in air service since the attacks, the airport has retained 96 percent of scheduled flights, officials said.

”It is important to keep these numbers in perspective,” said Krys Bart, executive director of the Airport Authority of Washoe County. ”Make no mistake – the impact from the tragic events on Sept. 11 is unparalleled in the history of commercial aviation.

”September 2001 is clearly an anomaly in Reno-Tahoe passenger levels, as it is with airports all across America. (But) the fact that we retained 96 percent of our air service and gained a new carrier indicates the resilience of our market.”

A total of 284,047 passengers passed through the airport in September, leaving its year-to-date traffic down 10.7 percent at 3.9 million total passengers.

Air cargo declined 28.3 percent in September from a year ago. Cargo is down 9.5 percent so far this year at 71.7 million pounds.

Airport officials attributed the decrease in cargo not only to the terror attacks, but to a sluggish national economy.

Even before the attacks, the Reno airport had seen a steady decline in passenger volume since American Airlines took over Reno Air, then axed most of the regional carrier’s routes 15 months ago.

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