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The Associated Press October 7, 2010, 6:18PM ET

United Airlines September traffic rises

United Airlines said September traffic rose 7.6 percent, and a key revenue measure rose too.

Fares have generally been rising. United said the revenue collected for each available seat flown one mile rose 13.5 percent to 14.5 percent compared with September 2009. Not counting regional flights on partner carriers, the same revenue measure rose 14 percent to 15 percent.

United traffic climbed to 9.95 billion revenue passenger miles for the month. Counting only mainline flights (those United operates itself), traffic rose 5.8 percent to 8.56 billion revenue passenger miles. Regional traffic jumped 20.8 percent to almost 1.4 billion revenue passenger miles.

A revenue passenger mile is one paying passenger flown one mile.

Capacity was up 4.4 percent systemwide, to almost 11.9 billion available seat miles. Mainline capacity rose 2.7 percent to 10.13 billion available seat miles.

United added traffic faster than it added seats, so planes were more full. Load factor, a measure of occupancy, rose 2.5 percentage points to 83.7 percent.

For the first nine months of the year, United traffic has risen 3.5 percent to 89.77 billion revenue passenger miles. Capacity rose 0.2 percent to 107.3 billion available seat miles. Load factor was up 2.7 percentage points to 83.7 percent.

The results were for United before it closed its combination with Continental Airlines Oct. 1. Now they're both units of United Continental Holdings Inc., which will continue to run them separately while it merges their operations.

Shares of Chicago-based United Continental rose 75 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $25.72.

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