SEATTLE (AP) — Alaska Airlines’ parent company said Wednesday that traffic rose 6.7 percent in May, helped by an increase in the number of available seats.

Alaska, which is run by Alaska Air Group Inc., said its capacity rose 7.3 percent from a year ago. Airlines can expand capacity by either adding flights or using larger planes.

The airline’s number of paying passengers increased 6.4 percent, but its occupancy rate — how full planes are — edged down 0.4 percentage points to 86.5 percent.

After taking into account the company’s regional carriers, both traffic and capacity increased 6.6 percent.

So far this year, traffic for the overall company increased 8.4 percent, while capacity rose 8.3 percent. Occupancy edged up 0.1 percentage points to 85.5 percent for the first five months of the year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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