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The Associated Press November 2, 2010, 7:36PM ET

Alaska Airlines traffic rises 15.9 percent

Alaska Air Group Inc. said on Tuesday that traffic rose 15.9 percent at Alaska Airlines, enough to drive the occupancy on its planes higher.

Alaska Airlines reported flying 1.69 billion revenue passenger miles for October, up from almost 1.46 billion revenue passenger miles a year earlier. A revenue passenger mile is one paying passenger flown one mile.

Capacity rose 9.1 percent to 2.07 billion available seat miles, from 1.89 billion a year earlier.

With traffic rising faster than capacity, more seats were filled. Load factor rose 4.8 percentage points to 81.8 percent.

For the first 10 months of the year, Alaska Airlines traffic is up 10.1 percent to 16.82 billion revenue passenger miles. Capacity rose 4.6 percent to 20.26 billion available seat miles. Load factor was up 4.1 percentage points to 83 percent.

On the airline's Horizon Air unit for regional flying, traffic fell 3.5 percent to 196 million revenue passenger miles. Capacity dropped 5.5 percent to 262 million available seat miles. Load factor rose 1.5 percentage points to 74.9 percent.

Through October, Horizon's traffic is up 2.5 percent to 2.05 billion revenue passenger miles. Capacity is down 0.9 percent to 2.72 billion available seat miles. Load factor rose 2.5 percentage points to 75.4 percent.

Alaska Air Group shares rose 81 cents to close at $53.25 on Tuesday.

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