Sep. 17--The number of people traveling through Oklahoma's commercial airports slipped from peak summer levels but posted steady increases overall for the month of August.
At the Will Rogers World Airport, 151,592 passengers flew out of the airport. Travel in August was down roughly 10 percent compared with July when the airport posted its highest numbers of departing passengers for the year at 169,630. While the number of travelers went down in August, the airport is still ahead of last year's totals by about 5 percent.
"We knew there was going to be a drop off with school starting earlier," said Karen Carney, spokeswoman.
The number of passengers boarding planes at Will Rogers was 4.31 percent higher this August compared with August 2004, according to numbers compiled by the airport.
Traffic at Tulsa International Airport also decreased from its summer peak in July by 16 percent. Last month, 129,784 people boarded airplanes at the Tulsa airport. In July, 155,160 people flew out of the airport. While the airport saw its traffic decrease in August, traffic counts were still higher than August 2004.
"We're continuing to make upward progress," said Mary Smith, Tulsa airport spokesman. "I think the improving economic conditions in Tulsa are helping, people are more confident to spend money on travel."
Outbound travelers at Tulsa's airport have increased 5.53 percent from last year's total in August.
"It's pretty common for it to dip in August," Smith said. "It usually goes back up in October."
The Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport was the only airport to see an increase in its commercial traffic in August, according to airport numbers.
Traffic at the airport increased 5.8 percent in August compared with July. The airport had 4,106 people board planes in August compared with 3,878 people traveling in July. The airport has daily American-Eagle flights to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
"Summer travel helped us," said Barbara Whittington, airport manager. "It's a trend we like to see."
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A busy summer traveling season translated into heavy traffic at Oklahoma's airports in July, but high fuel prices could cool that trend in August.
Passenger departures from Will Rogers World Airport increased by 6.3 percent last month compared with August, according to numbers compiled by the airport.
In Oklahoma City, 123,409 people boarded planes to leave Will Rogers World Airport. That's a 5.2 percent increase over numbers from last February.
In 2005, Tulsa and Oklahoma City airports saw airlines add flights to popular destinations, such as Orlando, Fla., Denver and Las Vegas.