US airlines passenger numbers up

US airlines passenger numbers up

Four of the US’s biggest airlines saw passenger numbers increase last month compared to November 2008.

Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines and Jet Blue Airways carried between them almost 20m passengers – up from 19.12 a year ago.

However, the biggest US carrier Delta Air Lines, as well as American Airlines and US Airways all posted passenger falls for November.

Southwest led the way in terms of percentage increases with a 7.6% passenger uplift from 6.52m to 7.02m.

Traffic was up 11.7%, but capacity was cut by 7.7%.

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This was followed by JetBlue, up 6.6% to 1.77m. Capacity was also up, by 5.3% and load factors rose to 77.4%.

United’s passenger figures were up by 1.4% to 6.22m, traffic was up 1.8%, while capacity was cut by 2.7%, lifting load factors to 8.2%.

Continental’s passenger numbers were up 0.7% to 4.85m; traffic grew by 2.9% and capacity was down by 1.2% which helped lift load factors to 80.5%.

The figures point to the first tentative signs of an upturn in the aviation sector.

Last month, figures released by OAG showed that after months of huge capacity cuts global airline capacity rose by 3% over November 2008 levels to 285.4m seats.

Global frequencies are up 1% compared to November 2008, with a total of 2.3 million flights for November 2009, despite an average North American frequency decline of 2%.

Delta’s passenger numbers dropped by 5.3% to 12.16m; American’s by 0.5% to 6.69m; and US Airways by 4.2% to 3.9m.