Americans Are Flying Again

Immediately after the horrible events of September 11th, Americans were afraid to fly. But things have changed, and now people are back in the air.

Just one of the millions of people flying again is Ann Fiore. Along with her husband and some friends, she was leaving the Coast Wednesday after a short casino junket.

Ann, as well as her friends have flown several times since the events of 9/11, and she says the threat of another terrorist attack will not deter her.

"It could happen at any time, any place," Fiore said. "They could do anything, so we have to be on guard, what are you going to do?"

She is not alone in feeling that way. Both nationwide and locally, the number of people flying is gradually increasing. Airport executive director Bruce Frallic says the numbers keep going up.

"If my memory serves me correctly, last month we were within about 7 percent of the passengers we were doing the previous year," Frallic said.

For the first five months of this year, the passenger count at Gulfport-Biloxi is down about 10 percent. But Frallic says that's partly because after the terrorist attack, the airlines reduced the number of flights coming here. Now, some, but not all, have been restored.

There's another reason for the drop in the passenger count, and it has nothing to do with 9-11.

"If you go back even prior to 9-11, the country was slipping into a recession. The airlines as a whole, had passenger counts down about 10 percent prior to 9-11," Frallic said.

Frallic says the soft economy, combined with the horrific events of September 11th, are the two main factors that led to the airlines losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Now Frallic is convinced any future terrorist attack probably would not be airline related.