Southwest Airlines Co. said that it flew six billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs) in December 2009, a 3 percent increase from the 5.8 billion RPMs flown in December 2008, continuing the run of increased traffic it has been reporting for the past several months. Available seat miles (ASMs) decreased 5.8 percent to 7.8 billion from the December 2008 figure of 8.3 billion. The load factor for the month was 76.2 percent, compared to 69.7 percent for the same period last year.
For December 2009, passenger revenue per ASM is estimated to have increased in the 7 percent range as compared to December 2008.
For the fourth quarter of 2009, Southwest flew 18.2 billion RPMs, compared to 17.3 billion RPMs for the same period in 2008, an increase of 5.3 percent. Available seat miles decreased 7.7 percent to 23.5 billion from the fourth quarter 2008 level of 25.5 billion. The fourth quarter 2009 load factor was 77.3 percent, compared to 67.8 percent for the same period last year. For the year ended Dec. 31, Southwest flew 74.5 billion RPMs, compared to 73.5 billion RPMs for the same period in 2008, an increase of 1.3 percent. Available seat miles decreased 5.1 percent to 98 billion from the 2008 level of 103.3 billion. The year-to-date load factor was 76 percent, compared to 71.2 percent for the same period last year.