American and Southwest airlines both carried more passengers in January compared with last year, according to reports released this week.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines said its planes last month were an average of 75 percent full, up 1.8 percentage points from the same period in 2005.
Its overall passenger traffic grew 4.4 percent, thanks to a 1.9 percent increase in capacity.
American Eagle, the company's regional affiliate, reported a 28 percent increase in traffic from January 2005.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines reported an 18 percent increase in traffic, with its airplanes flying 63 percent full, compared with seeing 59 percent of its seats filled in 2005.
Michael Boyd, president of the Boyd Group, a Colorado-based aviation consultant, said American's traffic numbers are sound.
"A lot of work's been done at American, and a lot more is going to get done," he said. "It clearly shows that as long as oil prices don't head further into the stratosphere, it's carriers like American that hold the future."
He expects 2006 to finally be a better year for legacy carriers such as American relative to low-cost carriers such as Southwest.
Although American never filed for bankruptcy protection, several other legacy carriers are reorganizing their burdening debts and higher costs through bankruptcy court, allowing for more effective competition with low-cost carriers.
"In nine to 12 months, we'll be talking about the problems of these low-cost carriers," Boyd said.
Shares of AMR Corp., American's parent, (ticker: AMR) fell 55 cents to $22.74 on Friday. Shares of Southwest (ticker: LUV) fell 9 cents to $16.43.
News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.