Delta says strong dollar hurting key revenue figure; new flying grows faster than traffic

IndustriesAssociated Press

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday that a key revenue measure fell 1.5 percent in February mostly because the strong dollar reduced the value of international ticket sales.

The figure is revenue for each seat flown one mile. It rises when airlines fill more seats or charge higher average fares.

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Atlanta-based Delta said that domestic operations and corporate accounts continued to generate strong revenue.

Delta also said that traffic rose 5.1 percent, as passengers flew 13.66 billion miles last month. Domestic traffic rose 7.2, while international gained 1.9 percent.

The airline added 6.3 percent to its passenger-carrying capacity — usually by adding flights or using bigger planes — so there were more empty seats. The average flight was 80.3 percent full, down from 81.2 percent in February 2014. International service was added faster than the increase in traffic.

Shares of Delta rose 32 cents to $45.71 in late-morning trading. They started the day down 9 percent in 2015.