Continental posts improvement in unit revenue declines

Washington DC
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Continental Airlines saw a slowing of month-to-month drops in its unit revenues during July, trending to recent comments by carrier management that a bottoming out in revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is occurring.

The carrier's consolidated RASM for July fell between 16.5%-17.5%, versus decreases in June of 19.5%-20.5%.

Recently carrier COO Jeff Smisek explained: "We don't know when a recovery will come, and there is a lot of uncertainty about the economic environment, however from a RASM degradation perspective, we do think we have hit bottom."

Continental's consolidated traffic year-over-year fell 6.5% on a capacity decrease of 7.8%. Still lower pricing led to a 1.1 percentage point increase in the carrier's consolidated load factor to 84.8%. The carrier's loads grew in every global region year-over-year with the exception of the Pacific, whose loads fell by 6.7 percentage points.