Continental Airlines Inc. said Thursday that advanced bookings are filling up a higher percentage of seats on U.S. flights than they were a year ago.
That’s possible even at a time of weak demand for air travel because Continental has far fewer seats to sell – about 8 percent less capacity on its flagship service, and 7.2 percent less if you include regional operations.
In a regulatory filing, the Houston-based company said advance bookings for the next six weeks on domestic flights aboard its flagship and feeder carriers are running 2 to 3 percentage points higher – as a percentage of available seats sold – than a year earlier.
Bookings on Latin American flights are also slightly ahead of last year, trans-Atlantic is flat, and Pacific is lagging, the company said.
Continental, the nation’s fourth-largest airline, said it was “comfortable” with the advance bookings.
For the fourth quarter, it appears that capacity didn’t shrink quite as quickly as traffic.
The company expects Continental planes to average filling 78 to 79 percent of its seats in the quarter. A year ago, the figure was 79.7 percent.