American and US Airways parent says traffic dipped in February, revenue figure still lags 2014

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FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines says traffic is down slightly from a year ago, but the airline also has trimmed capacity so there are fewer empty seats.

The airline says that it still expects a key revenue measure will decline between 2 percent and 4 percent in the first quarter, compared with the same period in 2014. The measure, revenue for each seat flown one mile, can decline if average fares fall.

American is facing tougher competition at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport from Southwest Airlines, which introduced long-distance flights at nearby Dallas Love Field with introductory lower fares. Some airline executives, notably at Spirit Airlines, have also said that lower fuel prices are leading to some fare discounting.

American Airlines Group Inc., which also operates US Airways and American Eagle, said Tuesday that overall February traffic fell 0.7 percent compared with the same month last year. The airline cut passenger-carrying capacity 1.8 percent — airlines usually reduce capacity by operating fewer flights or using smaller planes on average. The company has added seats on flights over the Pacific but cut them just about everywhere else.

The average flight last month was 79.3 percent full, up from 78.4 percent a year earlier.

Shares of Fort Worth-based American fell 91 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $47.01 in midday trading. They began the day down 11 percent in 2015.

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