Hopkins Activity Mirrors Air Travel Decline

CLEVELAND (AP) - The number of travelers using Cleveland Hopkins International Airport last year dropped to its lowest level since 1996.

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks became the major reason for the decline, but not the only one. Compared with 2000, the number of people boarding or stepping off flights at Hopkins was down for every month leading up to the attacks.

By the end of the year, the number of passengers, 11.9 million, was down by 10 percent from 2000.

Airport and airline officials attribute the pre-Sept. 11 drop in passengers to the economy.

"That pretty much mirrors what the entire industry saw," said Diana Cronan, a spokeswoman for the Air Transport Association, an airline trade organization that tracks the number of passengers boarding flights.

Nationwide, the number of passengers on U.S. airlines dropped nearly 8 percent from 2000 to last year. The only pre-Sept. 11 months that didn't show a decline nationally were January and August.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)