Key revenue measure rises at American Airlines

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines said Wednesday that a key revenue measure rose 4.7 percent in July, beating competitors for the fourth straight month.

The statistic measures passenger revenue for each mile times available seats, and it rises when airlines raise fares, sell more seats, or both.

The same figure was flat at United Airlines and rose 1 percent at US Airways, 2 percent at Southwest Airlines and 4.5 percent at Delta Air Lines. The figures include regional flights such as those operated for American by its American Eagle affiliate.

A spokesman for American, Sean Collins, said the increase was driven by higher prices — "yield" in airline-industry parlance — and by "solid demand in domestic and international markets." He said the results showed the strength of the airline's route network and alliances with other airlines. American has joint ventures for international service with British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines.

Traffic on American fell by 2.3 percent, and 2.2 percent including results from American Eagle. Passengers flew 12.82 billion miles on American and Eagle last month compared with 13.11 billion miles in July 2011.

The airlines reduced flights to match the lower demand. Passenger-carrying capacity dropped 2.2 percent, with American cutting slightly more capacity than did Eagle.

With traffic and capacity falling the same amount, planes were on average 87 percent full, unchanged from a year ago.

American and Eagle are owned by Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. All three filed for bankruptcy protection in November.