Updated from 8:55 a.m. ESTLow-fare carrier AirTran ( AAI) lost $3.3 million in the most recent quarter, largely as the result of a strategic move aimed at acquiring scarce gates in Atlanta. The airline's loss was 4 cents a share, matching expectations. Revenue was $461.9 million, up 12.7% from a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected a top line of $463.1 million. For the same period a year earlier, the carrier earned $400,000. During the fourth quarter, AirTran's average fare was $87.74, down 2.3%. Yield dropped 3.8%, while passenger revenue per available seat mile fell 7%. The declines were driven by capacity increases at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by both AirTran and Delta ( DALRQ). AirTran added flights in August after the airport made three gates available on a first-come, first-served basis. "We had to operate at a level we normally would not have done in the third quarter, a slow period when we typically reduce capacity," said CFO Stan Gadek, in an interview. "It was an interim strategy to get scarce real estate in Atlanta." Now, Delta's buildup has ended, and AirTran has enough gates to begin new flights to major markets such as St. Louis and Phoenix. On a conference call, President Bob Fornaro said AirTran expects a 3% to 4% RASM decline in the first quarter. "It starts getting progressively better," he said.