AirTran Holdings


recorded its best-ever November for passenger demand as it flew more flights than ever before.

The Orlando, Fla.-based low-cost airline said traffic, a measure of demand expressed in revenue passenger miles, grew by 23.7% in November from a year earlier.

Capacity, expressed in available seat miles, grew 23.8% from November 2003 and set an all-time record for the company. AirTran's load factor, which measures the percentage of seats filled on its planes, was 69.1%, unchanged from a year before. A total of 1.1 million passengers got on AirTran planes last month, a record for November.

AirTran hopes to expand even more. It has reached a $90 million deal to take over

ATA Holdings'


gates at Chicago's Midway Airport, along with hard-to-get time slots at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The agreement could be trumped, however, if a rival offers a better bid for the assets of ATA, which is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Earlier Thursday,

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Report

said unit revenue was flat to slightly higher in November, indicating the hypercompetitive industry environment continues to prevent airlines from raising fares significantly. The industry pays close attention to Continental's revenue figures, because it's the only major U.S. figure to release unit revenue along with its traffic results.

Shares of AirTran were up 11 cents, or 0.9%, to $12.50.