Despite a slower than average year for travel, the Massachusetts Port Authority's (Massports) popular Logan Express service continues to gain momentum. While travel on the whole has been gradually rebounding over the last three months, Logan Express and MBTA ridership have bounced back more quickly. Logan Express carried more than 1.1 million passengers in 2001, just one percent fewer than in 2000.
The relatively strong year-end numbers for the Logan Express come despite a 12.7% decrease in passengers for 2001. The downturn is due to the drop in air travel resulting from the terrorist attacks and a slumping economy during the last quarter of the year. From 2000 to 2001, annual passenger numbers dropped from 27.7 million to 24.2 million, while flight operations decreased by 6.8%, from 487, 996 to 454, 625.
"Prior to September, Logan was poised to reach record ridership levels for high occupancy vehicle transportation," said Massport Acting Executive Director and Director of Aviation Thomas J. Kinton, Jr. "The good news is that while the number of passengers using Logan is still down from 2000, the percentage of passengers using HOV services has increased."
During the past two years, passenger growth at Logan has remained relatively flat, while Massport has focused on regionalizing aviation growth by supporting New England airports such as Worcester Regional Airport, Manchester Airport in New Hampshire, and T.F. Green Airport in Providence.
International travel, a key focus for Massport officials because of its high revenue value for the City of Boston and the state, remained relatively strong. From 2000 to 2001, the number of international passengers declined by less than 5%, from 4.5 million to 4.3 million while the number of international flights actually increased by almost 2%, from 45,183 in 200 to 45,965 in 2001.
Massport expects the number of passengers using Logan to continue to grow in coming months. Massport has initiated a number of first-in-the-nation security programs aimed at enhancing security at Logan and restoring the public's confidence in air travel.