American and US Airways say traffic, revenue figure up but so are empty seats

IndustriesAssociated Press

Passengers are flying more miles on American Airlines and US Airways, but with airlines adding flights at a quicker pace, there are more empty seats.

American expects passenger revenue for every seat flown one mile — a key revenue figure — to rise between 1 percent and 3 percent for the July-through-September quarter. That seat revenue figure indicates an airline is getting higher average fares.

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The carriers merged in December to form American Airlines Group Inc.

The world's biggest airline company said Friday that traffic last month rose 1.1 percent from July 2013, as passengers flew 20.78 billion miles. Traffic within the U.S. grew by 1.7 percent but declined 0.6 percent on international flights.

The company increased passenger-carrying capacity by 3.1 percent, which airlines usually do by adding flights or using bigger planes. Most of the growth came on international routes.

Since capacity grew faster than traffic, the average flight was less full — 85.1 percent last month, down from 86.8 percent in July 2013.

Shares of the Fort Worth company fell 46 cents to $36.40 in midday trading.