updated 10/15/2007 7:41:34 PM ET 2007-10-15T23:41:34

More than 72 million passengers flew on U.S. airlines in July, a record number for one month, according to a government tally released Monday.

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The Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics said U.S. airlines carried 72.2 million domestic and international passengers in July, compared with 69.5 million last year. The tally bested the previous record of 70.6 million passengers set in July 2005.

Through the first seven months of 2007, when the airlines reported their worst ever on-time arrival performance, they carried 451.7 million passengers. That was a gain of 2.9 percent from the same period last year and also a record for the January-July period.

Domestic carrier Southwest Airlines Co. served nearly 9.7 million passengers in July, the most of any airline. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines was second with more than 9.1 million domestic and international passengers.

Delta Air Lines Inc., UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Northwest Airlines Corp. rounded out the top five with 7 million, 6.3 million and more than 4.9 million passengers respectively.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Department said more than 25 percent of domestic flights arrived late between January and August — easily the industry's worst performance since comparable data began being collected in 1995.

In August, the nation's 20 largest carriers reported an on-time arrival rate of 71.7 percent compared with 69.8 percent in July.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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