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AUSTIN-Passenger and air cargo traffic at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport continue their drop through 2002, an indication that the area’s economy has yet to revive.

Domestic cargo traffic declined 19% in May from May 2001 and dropped 26% for the first five months of 2002 in comparison to the same period in 2001. Total cargo was 24.2 million pounds in May, off from 29 million pounds in May 2001.

Cargo to and from international destinations also dropped in May. It totaled 603,632 pounds, down 77% percent from May 2001. The year-to-date total was 5.6 million pounds, a 39% decrease from 2001. Passenger traffic was down 9.6% from May 2001 and off 13% in a year-to-date comparison.

While airport traffic is a general economic indicator, it’s particularly important to industrial facilities near the airport. The southeast industrial submarket, which includes the airport area, has 10.25 million sf, second to the north submarket’s 15 million sf. The southeast’s vacancy rate was 18.3% at the end of the first quarter. Negative absorption was 273,228 sf in the first quarter.

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