DALLAS (AP) – Passengers on Southwest Airlines Co. flew fewer miles in May, but a key measure of revenue rose in a sign that airlines are still benefiting from higher fares despite the weak economy.
Airlines calculate how much revenue they make for every mile flown by each seat in their fleet. The statistic is closely watched by analysts and investors as a sign of pricing power and travel demand.
Dallas-based Southwest said Thursday that the revenue figure rose by between 5 and 6 percent last month compared with May 2011.
Southwest has been cutting passenger-carrying capacity — down 0.9 percent in May — but because traffic fell faster than Southwest reduced flying, there were a few more empty seats. The figures included Southwest’s AirTran Airways subsidiary.
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