Passenger revenue among a sampling of U.S. carriers rose 1.4 percent in January compared to the same month a year earlier, despite a slightly lower number of passengers flying, a trade group for the airlines said Tuesday.
The Air Transport Association said the year-over-year revenue gain followed 14 consecutive months of declines.
The group said that roughly 0.4 percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines in January, while the average price to fly one mile rose 0.6 percent, the first such increase since November 2008.
Growth was strongest on trans-Atlantic routes, where revenue was up more than 3 percent on average.
In addition to growth in passenger revenue, the trade group said that the most recent data shows there has also been a pickup in cargo volume.
Earlier this month United Airlines said its passenger revenue per available seat mile rose 9.5 per cent to 11.5 percent in January from the same month in 2009.
A year ago, airlines cut routes and operated fewer flights as the weak economy reduced the number of business travelers in the air. Carriers have had to keep fares low to lure more passengers. Many business fliers who used to pay for high-priced tickets moved to cheaper seats or didn't fly at all.
While some airlines say they see more business fliers now, none is ready to say the worst is over.
The ATA passenger revenue figures are based on data reported by more than a dozen U.S. carriers; including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and US Airways.