FORT LAUDERDALE AIRPORT is gloating once again over its local rival Miami. The real problem is whilst Miami is a true international airport, FLL, in spite of its success is not a European gateway to the US. Even Stanford, to the north of Orlando, has charter flights from the UK and other points. Not so booming Fort Lauderdale, located by the world”s busiest cruise port and the way into Florida from much of the US. Figures released by US Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General reveal that since May 2000 FLL has increased passenger throughput by 33% whilst Miami has actually gone down 18%. The airport says it is much cheaper to use for airlines than Miami and has a better catchment area. The report highlights the problems with US air travel, only six of the country”s 31 largest airports gaining passengers from May 2000 to May 2004. Besides Fort Lauderdale, JFK and Las Vegas, Baltimore, Atlanta and Orlando also reported modest gains, the report showed. The vast majority of large airports lost seats during the period. St Louis lost 61%; Pittsburgh, 37%; San Francisco, 27%; Honolulu, 27%; Washington Dulles; 23%; Los Angeles, 21%; Boston, 20%; Newark, 19%; and Washington's Reagan National, 13%. To put it in perspective Miami is running at around 30m annual passengers, Fort Lauderdale 20m and Atlanta 60m plus.