US air traffic volume goes up

Washington, April 24 (IANS) US airline traffic in January this year expanded from the year-ago level, indicating that the airline industry is witnessing a steady recovery, the transportation department reported.

US airlines carried 55.3 million domestic and international passengers in the first month of this year, 1.6 percent more than in January 2012, said the department.

The numbers of both domestic and international passengers went up. Specifically, there were 47.8 million domestic passengers, a 1.5-percent year-on-year growth, and 7.5 million international passengers, an increase of 2.3 percent, reported Xinhua.

The airline companies were also more efficient in flight arrangement. The load factor, a measure to calculate the use of aircraft capacity, was 78.8 percent across the industry, 1.2 percentage points higher than a year ago but still weaker than the 2012 average of 82.8 percent.

Delta, Southwest and United Airlines excelled in their respective superior business as before. Delta Airlines was the biggest carrier of passengers in January, with a headcount of 8. 508 million. Southwest Airlines carried the most domestic passengers, with 8.047 million. United Airlines took the first place in terms of international passengers, with 1.962 million.

In the coming months, the US airline industry may suffer from strong headwinds due to the closure of 149 federal air traffic control towers. Constrained by the so-called sequester, the Federal Aviation Administration said it had to shut them down June 15.

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