SFO Takes Off Despite Nasty Economy

San Francisco International Airport has reported an overall increase in passenger traffic during 2008, despite a bad economy and national trends in declining air travel, airport officials announced Thursday.

More than 37.4 million passengers traveled through SFO last year, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2007, according to SFO director of community affairs Michael McCarron.

Airport officials credit the increase to the expansion of domestic airlines catering to low-cost travel, such as Virgin America, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways. These carriers charted a 55.9 percent increase in 2008 traffic compared to a 2.2 percent decrease for domestic travel on non-low-cost carriers.

"San Francisco International Airport was extremely fortunate to weather such a challenging year as 2008 and come out on the plus side," airport director John Martin said in a prepared statement.

The announcement coincided with the initiation of AeroMexico's new non-stop service from San Francisco to Mexico City.

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