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Orange County

Passenger Use Is Up 4.3% at John Wayne

Airport: Traffic posts 3rd straight monthly rise despite the sluggish economy and 9/11.

July 13, 2002|STANLEY ALLISON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport increased again in June over last year's number, the third monthly rise in a row.

The numbers continued returning to normal levels following the steep decline immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In June 2001, 685,949 passengers flew out of John Wayne, airport officials said. For the same month in 2002, 715,613 used the facility, an increase of 4.3%.

Airport officials are heartened by the trend because some observers predicted the sluggish economy, even more so than last fall's terrorist attacks, would prompt many Americans to drive, not fly, to vacation destinations this summer.

Airport spokesman Justin McCusker said John Wayne is rebounding partly because most of its flights are domestic.

The short and mid-range flights "came back faster than other types of flights at other airports," he said.

He added that despite Sept. 11, "We did not experience the same type of downturn that was experienced in some other areas. Our business travelers ... were still flying."

Not all the numbers were good, however. Commuter-carrier, or air-taxi operations, were down by nearly half for June 2002 from the previous year.

Commuter traffic decreased almost 45% after Delta Connections and United Express cut their service following the Sept. 11 attacks.

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