AP News

Delta passenger revenue up 4 percent in August

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that its passenger revenue rose 4 percent last month, helped by stable demand and an uptick in higher-paying business travelers.

Delta's passenger revenue per available seat mile, which measures how much money it makes for a passenger flown a single mile, would have been 1.5 percentage points higher if not for a tax reprieve in August 2011.

Last August a congressional standoff led to a period in which some government taxes on airline tickets weren't collected, and the airlines took advantage of that. Nearly all of them raised prices to account for the break in extra fees, padding that month's revenue figures.

Traffic across Delta's system was virtually flat last month, rising just 0.2 percent. The number of available seats fell 0.8 percent, as it continued to reduce flying to keep costs down. Because the number of seats fell and traffic went up, flights were fuller. Delta's load factor in August rose 0.9 percent.

Delta shares rose 3.8 percent, or 33 cents, to $8.89 in afternoon trading. Other airline stocks were trading higher as well as some executives offered encouraging forecasts for traffic and revenue through the fall at a transportation conference in New York.

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