Judging from recent airline-industry reports and analyst reactions to them, the long-awaited revenue recovery is either coming along very slowly or has stalled. On Monday night, traffic, revenue and capacity reports from the American Airlines unit of AMR ( AMR), Continental Airlines ( CAL) and Southwest Airlines ( LUV) revealed how business fared during May. Generally speaking, business remains at a crossroads: Airlines have cut capacity, allowing them to fill more seats, but they're not seeing much of an increase in demand or revenue from last year. Wall Street reaction was mixed, with equity analysts offering different takes on the outlook entering the potentially lucrative summer travel season. But on a longer horizon, while airline shares could find reasons to rally, analysts said the revenue recovery picture was less certain. "The near-term optimism notwithstanding, we also believe that the absolute level of recovery in the industry may ultimately disappoint, especially since capacity reductions appear likely to tail off as the year progresses," said Jim Higgins, airline analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, in an otherwise bullish note, "and we therefore fully expect to want to sell airline shares sometime before year end." Of all the reports, Continental's held the most sway, with Higgins saying that this has historically been the best proxy by which to judge the rest of the industry. And judging from what it had to say about business in May, the outlook is mixed. On a positive note, Continental announced that revenue per available seat mile, a metric called RASM used to handicap revenue trends, was up between 1% and 3% from year-ago levels. And load factor, or the percentage of seats filled on every flight, hit 77.3%, up 2 full percentage points from year-ago levels. Also, unit ExpressJet showed double-digit growth, an impressive sign that the older network carriers may be able to master the low-cost trick.