- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Ridership at Peoria’s airport has declined for the first time in four years.

Officials at Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport announced Tuesday that passenger numbers fell by 3 percent in 2016.

Airport director Gene Olson attributes the decline to a downturn in the local economy. He says Caterpillar Inc.’s summer layoff announcement is a possible factor.

Olson tells the (Peoria) Journal Star (http://bit.ly/2jyteaU ) that people are reluctant to travel because of uncertain finances. He says corporate travel is also down.

But ridership did pick up in the fall. A record-setting November led into what Olson called a “strong December.” He says the public is adjusting to the bad economic news.

Olson says at one point, projected 2016 ridership was 615,000. Instead, it topped out at about 623,000.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com

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