Continental Airlines Inc. said Tuesday that May traffic including regional flights rose 3.7 percent, and a key revenue measurement soared nearly one-fourth higher than a year ago.
The company said passenger revenue per available seat mile rose between 23 percent and 24 percent. That's a ratio of revenue to capacity, and a closely watched indicator of financial performance in the airline industry.
The same figure rose 14.8 percent in April. Excluding shorter regional flights, the revenue ratio increased about 23 percent in May, topping the 12.6 percent rise in April.
The figures showed that Continental is not only getting more traffic as air travel recovers from the recession, but it's able to extract more money from passengers through higher fares and fees.
The airline said paying passengers flew 7.81 billion miles last month, up from 7.53 billion miles in May 2009. Regional traffic including Continental Express rose 8.2 percent, while the mainline Continental fleet saw a 3.2 percent increase.
Capacity for the entire company inched up by 0.2 percent, to 9.33 billion available seat miles, a measure of one seat flown one mile. Regional capacity increased 4.2 percent while mainline fell 0.3 percent.
Average occupancy rose 2.9 points to 83.8 percent, including regional and mainline.