Southwest October Traffic Falls 2.4 Percent

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    Southwest Airlines Co. says traffic fell in October but a key revenue measure still rose, indicating higher fares and many full planes.

    Dallas-based Southwest on Wednesday reported a 5 percent gain in passenger revenue per mile flown by each seat, a closely watched measure of financial strength in the airline industry.

    Southwest's traffic fell 2.4 percent last month. Paying passengers flew 8.5 billion miles on Southwest and its AirTran Airways subsidiary, compared with 8.7 billion miles in October 2011.

    Southwest and AirTran shrunk passenger-carrying capacity by 1.6 percent to adjust to lower demand.

    That resulted in average occupancy of 80.7 percent, down from 81.4 percent a year ago but high by Southwest's historical standards.