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More rough air: Logan sees drop in passengers

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  January 22, 2009 04:33 PM

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If you needed any more proof that fewer are flying, take note of two more developments today.
First, Southwest Airlines said that it would trim its schedule by 4 percent this year, the first time it's done that in about two decades.
And locally Massachusetts Port Authority says it will slice $17 million - or 4.5 percent - from its budget because it projects monthly passenger traffic at Logan will continue slipping through at least the first half of the year.
My pal Nicole Wong reports that Massport chief executive Thomas J. Kinton Jr. had this to say at today's monthly meeting of the authority's board:

"Our best guess - based on scheduled operations, seat availability, and projections from snapshots of activity at airports across the country - is that we may see month-over-month declines in the 5 to 6 percent range for much of the year, with traffic perhaps staging a comeback in the second half of 2009, depending on the economy. It's below where we'd like it to be, but it's better than where we were just this fall."

For passengers this is probably not great news. With fewer people flying and airlines cutting seats to bolster the bottom line, we may see some deals here and there in the short term. But carriers will look to recoup losses, keeping prices as high as they possibly can for as long as they can.

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