USAir traffic was down 10.5% in June


USAir Group Inc. said yesterday that its June traffic was down 10.5 percent, a sharper decline than other big carriers have reported so far.

The Arlington, Va.-based airline, the largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, said the number of passengers was down largely because last summer's fare wars generated a huge volume of traffic in June 1992.

The company said revenue passenger miles, representing the number of miles flown by all paying customers, dropped to 2.99 billion in June, from 3.34 billion last year.

USAir stock closed yesterday at $14.75, down 62.5 cents a share.

So far, United Airlines has reported a 2.6 percent increase in June domestic traffic. American Airlines posted an 8.2 percent drop, while Delta Air Lines said its June traffic declined 6.8 percent.

"The reason why you're seeing such a drop is because of the record volume of passengers created by last June's fare wars," said David Donithen, analyst for the Air Transport Association, which represents most of the nation's airlines. "We'll probably see passengers continue to fall off the rest of the summer."

The discounted fares this summer, he said, do not come close to last summer's rock-bottom prices, which featured half-price tickets. The industry is offering a variety of discount fares with restrictions.

USAir has been trying to boost its traffic this summer by, among other things, offering discount fares on nonstop flights shorter than 750 miles to or from Northeast corridor cities.

In May, the number of USAir passengers declined 4.6 percent over May 1992. That prompted company officials to announce last month that they expected a loss not only for the second quarter but for the entire year as well.

Last year, the airline lost $601 million, not including a special charge for an accounting change.

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