Passenger unit revenues at North American carriers grew a respectable about 1.6% in June compared a year earlier, reversing declines during the previous two months.
The demand improvement comes after two months when the region's airlines were buffeted by a combination of US federal budget cuts and weak economic numbers that kept business demand soft. Leisure demand, according to airline executives, remained strong.
The increase in passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) was led by a 3.5% to 4.5% improvement at United Airlines with only Southwest Airlines reporting a decline of 1% year-on-year. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and US Airways saw numbers that were either up slightly or flat.
Across the board metrics improved for the region's carriers in June. Traffic rose 1.9% on a 1.6% increase in capacity compared to June 2012, resulting in a 0.3 percentage point increase in load factor to 86.9%.
Traffic increased fastest at JetBlue, who saw a 7.8% jump on an 8% increase in capacity, but US Airways posted the largest real increase by adding more than 420 million revenue passenger miles (RPMs) on a more than 345 million increase in available seat miles (ASMs) year-on-year in June.
New York-based JetBlue added four Airbus A320s and seven Embraer 190s to its fleet from 1 July 2012 to 30 June, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.
Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways had a net addition of six aircraft during the year, Ascend shows. It added 20 Airbus A321s, two Airbus A330-200s and five Embraer 190s, and removed six Boeing 737-300s and 15 737-400s.
Passenger numbers increased 0.3% to 60.4 million during June compared to a year earlier. Considering the slight overall increase, decreases at Delta and United likely indicate that the carriers lost passengers to other airlines where numbers rose.