With the economy unsettled and fuel prices up, the Federal Aviation Administration says passenger volume will rise only slightly this year and at a slower rate than in 2007. FAA says airport operations—takeoffs and landings—also will show little gains.

FAA’s latest annual Aerospace Forecast, released March 10, says U.S. passenger enplanements will increase 1.5% in 2008, to a total of 776.5 million. That compares with a 3.3% gain last year.

FAA forecasts that airport operations will be up just 0.4% in 2008, to 61.4 million. That’s marginally better growth than last year when operations were virtually even with 2006’s level. The agency does foresee a 2.3% operations growth in 2009. Operations are a yardstick for runway and taxiway wear.