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American Airlines said Tuesday that March traffic rose slightly but planes were less full because the airline added seats at a faster clip.
AMR Corp.'s American said paying passengers flew 10.66 billion miles last month, compared with 10.58 billion miles in March 2010, an increase of 0.8 percent. The figures did not include American's regional affiliate, American Eagle.
American increased passenger-carrying capacity by 2.6 percent, to 13.29 billion available seat miles. A seat mile is one seat flown one mile. Airlines boost capacity by adding flights or using bigger planes.
With capacity rising faster than traffic, there were more empty seats on the average flight. Average occupancy fell to 80.2 percent from 81.7 percent a year ago. American boarded 7.4 million passengers in March.
International traffic rose 5.2 percent, but domestic traffic dropped 1.7 percent.
AMR shares fell 4 cents to close at $6.23.