Southwest Airlines Reports August Traffic Rose 6.4 Percent

Southwest Airlines’ traffic rose 6.4 percent in August compared with last year, and the
company said Wednesday that a key measure of revenue may have risen as much as
16 percent.


Southwest

Passenger revenue for each seat flown one mile rose 15 percent to 16 percent during the month, the airline said. The industry pays close attention to that figure
because it shows how much airlines are collecting from passengers across their
entire system.

Southwest flew
7.12 billion revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger flown one mile.
That’s from 6.69 billion revenue passenger miles a year earlier.

Capacity rose
3.7 percent to 8.65 billion available seat miles, from 8.34 billion a year
earlier. The amount of traffic seen by Southwest rose faster than its capacity,
meaning fuller planes. Load factor — a measure of occupancy — rose 2.1
percentage points to 82.3 percent.

For the first
eight months of the year, traffic rose 2.9 percent to 51.98 billion revenue
passenger miles. Capacity fell 1.8 percent to 65.57 billion available seat
miles. Load factor rose 3.7 percentage points to 79.3 percent.

It may be
difficult to repeat the performance this month.

Southwest has
added even more capacity even as revenue data “suggests some weakness in
domestic markets,” wrote UBS analyst Kevin Crissey.

That means
everything to Southwest because it’s the only market that the Dallas airline
serves.

International
carriers are getting a boost from business travelers, which makes Southwest the
“least favorite airline stock at the moment,” Crissey wrote.