Number of airline passengers passing thru Louisville is rising - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Number of airline passengers passing thru Louisville is rising

The summer travel season is just getting underway.  With air fares up and the economy weak, fewer Americans are expected to fly this summer.  But so far this year, the number of passengers traveling through Louisville is up.

We've heard a lot about the major airlines cutting service because of high fuel costs.  But most of those cuts won't come until later in the year.

Air fares are up an average of 3-1/2%.  But at Louisvillle International, for the first 4 months of this year, the number of passengers is up 6%.

Tom Tyra of the Regional Airport Authority tells Fox 41's Bill Francis, "Summer travel has been very good for the airlines and it's their peak travel season, so they don't want to cut the flights just yet."

There are about a hundred flights in and out of Louisville each day -- about the same number as last year, according to the Regional Airport Authority.  But just about all of the major airlines plan to cut service as high as 12%, taking aircraft out of their system.

Tyra explains, "Most of the cuts the airlines are announcing are really for the 4th quarter of this year and even into the first quarter of 2009, so we probably won't be seeing any cuts until late September, October, and even November."

Not only are passengers hit with higher fares, but at the start of this week American airlines began charging a fee for luggage.  Other major carriers will follow later this summer.

But so far, plenty of people are still flying.  Tyra says, "They've been trying to manage their airplanes more effectively, changing the schedule here and there to make sure as many seats as possible are filled up to try to reduce the cost of fuel for them.

Southwest is the only airline actually adding flights.  30% of passengers here in Louisville fly Southwest.  But its not yet known if Southwest will add any flights here.

So if you're travelling by air this summer, be prepared for crowded flights and higher fares.

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