Both of the state's major commercial airports saw declines in outbound passenger traffic in September, a traditionally slow travel month.
Will Rogers World Airport broke a 16-month streak of consecutive increases in departures with September's 1.73 percent decrease compared to the same month in 2011. Airport statistics tracked steady increases from May 2011 to August 2012.
Travelers were likely adjusting to the Oklahoma City Public Schools year-round calendar, which has a shorter summer break and longer fall break, leading to less travel in September, said Karen Carney, a spokeswoman for the airport.
There also was an unusually low number of home football games in September at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, which may have reduced traffic.
“We usually do see a little drop off in September,” Carney said.
At Tulsa International Airport, departures declined by more than 6.5 percent in September, compared to the same month in 2011. Overall, outbound traffic is down 1.19 percent for the year.
Alexis Higgins, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa airport, said there are so many factors that go into whether people will travel, and there is little the airport can do besides increasing amenities and marketing the airport to potential travelers — which officials have been doing.
This week, a project began to upgrade software that controls the baggage conveyors, which will result in fewer lost and delayed bags, she said. The $5.9 million project is being funded through a Transportation Security Administration grant.