Airline passenger traffic on US airlines increased in July despite rising fuel prices and renewed uncertainties about the U.S. economy.
Southwest Airlines recorded an increase of 5.9% in July compared to the same month last year. Southwest also reported a increase in the number of available seats of 6.6%. The month’s RPM increased to 10 billion from 9.5 billion in July 2010.
JetBlue Airways Corporation reported an 11.1% year-over-year traffic increase in July 2011, the highest compared to its rivals. On a year-over-year basis, capacity also climbed 11.6% and load factor fell to 85.9%.
July passenger traffic for American Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation, increased 1.7% year over year on a capacity growth of 0.9%. American also reported strong international traffic, with an increase of 5%.
United Continental expects 7.5% to 8.5% year-over-year increase in unit revenue for the month of July, measured by passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM), a key metric in airlines.
Delta Air Lines, the second largest airline in the U.S., reported that passenger traffic remained stable in year over year comparisons. Domestic traffic dipped 0.9% year over year, while international traffic rose 1.5% year over year on a 3.3% capacity increase.
While escalating fuel prices are a major concern for the air carriers in the short term, crude oil prices have dropped sharply over the last two weeks.