August Revenues Look a Lot Like July's

Last Updated Sep 4, 2009 10:30 AM EDT

It's the beginning of September, so you know what that means. It's time for August numbers to start piling in. Traffic and revenues look similar to July so far, but I'm still waiting for the usual stragglers to report before pushing my traffic summary out. For revenues, however, let's look at the only two who talk about them on a monthly basis: Continental and US Airways.

You may recall last month, I summed up Continental's revenue performance this way:

In May, unit revenues plunged 19.9 percent year-over-year. June was predicted to fall between 19.5 and 20.5 percent. Where did it land? Right at 19.9 percent once again. So how are the early July estimates shaping up? They are predicting a decrease of *only* 16.5 to 17.5 percent.
So where are we for August? Unit revenue will be down 16.5 to 17.5 percent. Huzzah! Sorry, I got a little excited for no good reason. July came in at the lower end of forecasts at negative 17.4 percent. So let's look on the bright side . . . August couldn't really be much worse than July. I suppose that's not exactly the bright side . . . more of a dim side.

As for US Airways, it was more of the same as well. August equaled July's passenger unit revenue decrease of 15 percent, and it was a single point worse than July's total unit revenue decrease of 12 percent. So, you can pretty much call August a carbon copy of July so far. That's actually really good news because the summer traffic bump usually tails off toward the back half of the month.

US Airways President Scott Kirby alluded to that a bit by saying, "We remain encouraged that recent booking and yield improvement trends are continuing into September." That is fantastic news, because people were expecting a complete cliff dive after the summer. There's no question that September results will be much more telling than those from August.

Publishing Note: Monday is Labor Day, so I'll be back here again on Tuesday