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Southwest Unit Revenue Jumps

Southwest reported a unit revenue increase of 22% for March, a sign of an improving aviation economy.
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(LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report

said March revenue per available seat mile rose 22%.

The increase in the key metric is the highest reported so far by a major carrier and is another sign of an improving aviation economy as carriers enter the second quarter, which is typically profitable. Earlier,


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reported a March RASM increase of 15%, while

US Airways


reported an 18% gain, compared with the same month a year earlier.

Southwest said its revenue per available seat mile rose 0.4, even as capacity fell by 4.2 %, a positive sign that indicates higher revenue per seat mile even as the number of available seat miles decreases. The load factor was 81%, compared with 77.3% a year earlier. During the first quarter, RPMs rose 1.6%, while ASMs fell 6.4%.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.