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The Associated Press October 5, 2010, 6:00PM ET

American Eagle Sept. traffic rises 17.3 percent

American Eagle said Tuesday that September traffic jumped 17.3 percent, outpacing an ambitious expansion of flying by the regional affiliate of American Airlines.

Eagle said paying passengers flew 729.9 million miles last month, up from 622.1 million miles in September 2009.

The airline increased passenger-carrying capacity by 12.3 percent, to 1.02 billion available seat miles, which is a measure of one seat flown one mile. Airlines add capacity by adding flights or using larger planes that carry more people.

Even with the added seats, flights were still fuller. The average flight last month was 71.7 percent full, up from 68.7 percent a year earlier.

Through the first nine months of the year, traffic was up 8.1 percent as capacity increased by 7.2 percent. Planes averaged 72.1 percent occupancy, compared with 71.5 percent over the same period last year.

Shares of parent AMR Corp. rose 15 cents, or 2.5 percent, to close at $6.11.

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