Reno Airport Numbers Highest Since Sept. 11

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After a long 2 1/2 years of recovery, the Reno airport says last month's passenger count was the largest since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The 467,565 passengers represented an increase of 18.9 percent from March of last year.

The soaring numbers come partly from the American Bowling Congress, which had no tournament in Reno last year. Officials said good weather also was a plus, along with inexpensive flights.

The airport offered 88 daily flights during the month compared with 75 last March, and airlines filled 81.9 percent of the seats on those flights.

"Airline traffic is an excellent indicator of how the region is doing," said Beth Cooney, executive director of marketing at John Ascuaga's Nugget.

"When traffic counts are up at the airport it means you are working toward diversifying this market's customer base, and that can be nothing but good news for the region."

March hotel occupancy at the Sparks hotel-casino jumped about 10 percent compared with last year, Cooney said.

"This is regaining what we lost after Sept. 11," airport Executive Director Krys Bart said. "It is the growing confidence of the traveling public."

The monthly record for passenger traffic was set in March 1998 when 683,068 travelers passed through Reno-Tahoe International Airport.