Dallas-Fort Worth Airport reported its strongest traffic gains since September 11 over the busy holiday travel period, recording more than 2.35 million passengers from Dec. 19 - Jan. 2.
That figure represents just a 5.9 percent decline from last year`s total of 2.5 million passengers over the same period, signaling a strong rebound for the final quarter of 2001 and continued optimism for recovery this year.
“We had projected a 15-percent decline in traffic from last year, so these numbers are indeed outstanding and encouraging,” says Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport. “We had strong passenger traffic, the weather was good and our Holiday Helper program made a real difference in the terminals making our guests feel safe, comfortable and less stressful. I`d say those are all contributing factors to the strong showing.”
Holiday travel reached a peak at DFW on Friday, December 21, when more than 180,000 passengers traveled. More than 156,000 passengers traveled through on average per day during the peak period.
DFW has surpassed its passenger forecasts several times following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Shortly after 9/11, DFW had projected that November would end up being 27% lower year over year, or 3.5 million passengers. However, the actual tally was just 17-percent lower than last year as four million passengers passed through the terminals. Those figures compared favorably to other major airports, which saw passenger declines from 20-35%.
“We continue to be encouraged by our results and based on the post 9/11 traffic peaks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year`s we believe President`s Day and the spring break travel period will be strong,” says Joe Lopano, executive vice president of marketing at DFW Airport. “We also believe as the recession bottoms out and the economy picks up steam, business traffic should rebound.”
Airline capacity at DFW is gradually returning to 9/11 levels. While American Airlines, the airport`s largest hub carrier continues to restore and add service, the fastest growing carrier at DFW since 9/11 is Delta Connection, Delta`s commuter partner, which has added regional jet routes to new DFW non-stop destinations such has Tallahassee and Pensacola and added more flights to Birmingham, Corpus Christi and Indianapolis. And in December, American added an additional flight to its schedules between DFW and Burbank, Baltimore, New York-JFK, Ontario and Sacramento.