Friday, August 6, 2010

Southwest Airlines sets all-time company record as it reports July earnings

Southwest Airlines last month set an all-time record for load factors, as it filled 84.9 percent of its seats with paying passengers, the airline said Friday.

The Dallas-based carrier said its traffic increased 3.4 percent from July 2009, while capacity was up only 1.4 percent.

The load factor beats the previous record of 83.2 percent, set in July 2009. Its third best month was June 2007, with 82.1 percent.

Even with the record, Southwest’s loads trailed that of other big carriers. With United Airlines Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp. still to release July results, the large carriers filled 87.5 percent of their seats last month, up 0.5 points from a year earlier.

Airlines this year are enjoying the double benefit of an improving economy and their own decisions to shrink or limit growth. As a result, load factors have been high, and total revenues and average fares are up noticeably from last year.

Southwest saw revenues leap 21.1 percent in the second quarter compared to the 2009 period, even though its traffic climbed only 2.7 percent.

(The Dallas Morning News)

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