American Airlines says March traffic jumped 2.5%

American Airlines Inc. said Monday its traffic increased 2.5 percent in March over
the same month in 2009. The carrier said its load factor, or percentage of
seats filled, jumped 2.6 percentage points to 81.7 percent.


American’s traffic increased 1.8 percent on North American routes, 2.5
percent on routes across the Atlantic, 4.3 percent to Latin American and 6.1
percent across the Pacific.

Its regional affiliate, American Eagle, said its traffic climbed
3.3 percent over March 2009, with capacity up a little bit more, 3.4 percent.
Its load factor was down only slightly, to 71.88 percent compared to 71.93
percent a year earlier.

While American doesn’t estimate revenues in its monthly traffic, US Airways Inc. said Monday that its passenger unit revenues soared
18 percent over a year earlier. Unit revenue is revenue per available seat mile

In addition, US Airways said its total unit revenues jumped 20
percent over March 2009.

“The positive momentum that we have seen in the revenue
environment has continued with particularly strong year-over-year growth in
booked yields,” US Airways president Scott Kirby said.

US Airways March traffic fell 0.1 percent, with capacity off 1.7
percent. The carrier said its load factor climbed 1.3 points to 83.2 percent
over a year earlier.

Last Thursday, Continental Airlines Inc. said its passenger unit revenues excluding regional partners climbed 13 to 14 percent. Including those partners, unit revenues climbed 14.5 to 15.5 percent.

Continental’s traffic increased 5.5 percent on 0.8 percent more
capacity. Its load factor set a record at 86.6 percent, up from 3.7 percent in
March 2009.

Analysts will be looking to hear from the other airlines that
report unit revenues, including Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp.,
to see how strong the industry is bouncing back from last year’s enormous
decline in demand and unit revenues.