Southwest Airlines reported that its November traffic has jumped 11.7% over
the same month last year. Load factor, or the percentage of available seats
filled with passengers, in September rose to 76.5% from 63.2% in the prior-year
period. Southwest said paying customers flew 5.88 billion miles last month, up
from 5.26 billion in November 2008.
Available seat miles, or capacity, fell 7.7% to 7.7 billion
from 8.3 billion in the year-ago period. The airline plans to reduce 2009
available seat miles in the 5-6% range versus last year.
During the third quarter earnings, the airline reported a
9.0% increase in mainline traffic and $5.8 billion revenue. Amid weak demand
for business travel, Southwest continues to stimulate traffic with more
discounted and promotional fares.
Though the November results pointed to a strong end for the
year, management doesn’t expect very profitable fourth quarter results, based
on weak travel demand and fuel price volatility.
AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, said that its November traffic rose 11.7% to 635 million revenue passenger miles from a year ago, with capacity increasing 6.8% to 901 million available seat miles.