Airport traffic drops for the third year in a row

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Flight information
A passenger checks his flight information at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.
MPR Photo/Charlie Knutson

The number of takeoffs and landings at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport dropped almost 5 percent last year to their lowest level since 1993.

The Federal Aviation Administration says traffic at the airport has now declined three years in a row. In 2007, the airport had about 453,000 flights. Northwest Airlines, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of the airport's traffic, has been reducing flights.

Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan attributes the number of fewer flights to the airline industry's financial problems, and, in particular, to Northwest's past bankruptcy:

"They have reiterated that they're very committed to their hub operation here. We expect that it will grow in the future. But, the reality is that airlines are having to look now at the financial outlays that are out here with fuel costs and the

The airport is now the nation's 13th-busiest, down from 12th last year.