In this paper we seek to characterize traffic in the U.S. air transportation system, and to subsequently develop improved models of traffic demand. We model the air traffic within the U.S. national airspace system as dynamic weighted network. We employ techniques advanced by work in complex networks over the past several years in characterizing the structure and dynamics of the U.S. airport network. We show that the airport network is more dynamic over successive days than has been previously reported. The network has some properties that appear stationary over time, while others exhibit a high degree of variation. We characterize the network and its dynamics using structural measures such as degree distributions and clustering coefficients. We employ spectral analysis to show that dominant eigenvectors of the network are nearly stationary with time. We use this observation to suggest how low dimensional models of traffic demand in the airport network can be fashioned.