The Associated Press August 3, 2010, 10:57AM ET

AirTran says July traffic rose 2.2 percent

AirTran Airways said Tuesday that July traffic rose 2.2 percent, a more modest gain than the discount airline had been seeing earlier in the year, but planes remained very close to full.

The airline, a unit of AirTran Holdings Inc., said paying passengers flew 2 billion miles last month, compared with 1.96 billion miles in July 2009.

Capacity rose 1.9 percent, as measured in available seat miles, or the number of seats multiplied by the miles they were flown.

Load factor or average occupancy increased 0.3 points to 88.6 percent.

AirTran has been seeing better traffic all year -- it was up 6.7 percent through the first seven months of the year. Second-quarter earnings fell 84 percent, however, as the company faced higher costs and suffered losses on its fuel-hedging bets.

The parent company said last month it would cut costs for at least two years and defer delivery of nine aircraft to save money.

The shares fell 10 cents, or 2 percent, to $4.83 in morning trading.

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