Passenger traffic at T. F. Green Airport was down 4.3% for the month of December with 339,319 passengers and 6.5 % overall or 4,692,974 passengers for 2008. This is consistent with an industry decline in both business and leisure travel nationwide.
The year end numbers illustrate the impact of volatile fuel prices and a floundering economy. In response to these challenges, airlines have employed the use of smaller aircraft and less frequency on a number of routes, creating less available seats.
“The airline industry is experiencing the effects of a struggling economy coupled with the high cost of jet fuel,” said Kevin Dillon, RIAC President & CEO. “While other airports across the country have seen double digit losses, we feel somewhat fortunate to have experienced a less severe drop in activity.”
T.F. Green lost service from air carrier American Eagle in 2008 while other airlines fared better.
Continental passenger numbers increased in 2008, up 3.48% for the year. The airline had a 12.79% increase for December alone.
US Airways, the airport’s second largest carrier, experienced the best month over month improvement of 7.58% in December. The airline was down a scant 1.3% for 2008.
Southwest, the airport’s largest carrier was only down 1.59% for the year. Southwest also added to its schedule a 2 daily flight to Fort Lauderdale.
Combined, Southwest and US Airways account for 73% of the market at T.F. Green Airport.
“Although we are faced with tough times in our industry, Green will continue to move forward with our improvement projects to be well-positioned when the economy rebounds,” stated Dillon. “We remain encouraged by the cooperative assistance of our business community, tourism and CVB partners, who provide critical support to our efforts in attracting new service to our airport.”
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