(Washington, DC) -- About 60-million fewer people will fly on the nation's airlines this year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
That's a drop of nine-percent over last year's domestic passenger traffic of 679-million people.
The FAA blames the decline on the recession.
The agency adds if the prediction holds up, it would be the biggest drop in air passengers since deregulation of the airline industry in 1978.
In addition to the loss of passengers flying domestically, the FAA estimates the number of passengers boarding international flights in the U.S. will drop by about 2.5-percent.
Major airlines have already cut capacity over the past few years by 8-percent, with the average occupancy of any given aircraft now about 80-percent.
An additional five-percent cut may come this year, according to the agency.
(Copyright 2009 by Newsroom Solutions)