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Alaska Air Group reports rise in August traffic

SEATTLE (AP) -- The parent of Alaska Airlines said Thursday that passenger traffic rose 7.3 percent in August as the company continued to expand.

Alaska Air Group Inc. said that passengers flew 2.60 billion miles last month, up from 2.45 billion miles in August 2012. The figures include Alaska Airlines, where traffic climbed 8.1 percent, and its Horizon Air affiliate, where traffic gained just 0.8 percent.

The company expanded capacity by 7.3 percent, with all the increase taking place at Alaska — Horizon shrunk slightly. Airlines raise capacity by adding flights or using bigger planes.

Average occupancy for all flights declined to 87.8 percent from 88.4 percent a year earlier.

Shares of Alaska Air Group rose 99 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $58.96 in morning trading.