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United Airlines unit revenue falls less than expected in second quarter

A United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner touches down at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, in this April 11, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Louis Nastro/Files

(Reuters) - United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) said on Monday that a closely watched revenue measure dropped less than it had forecast in the second quarter.

United, the No. 3 U.S. carrier by passenger traffic, said passenger unit revenue fell between 6.5 percent and 6.75 percent in the just-ended quarter, compared with expectations for a decline of as much as 7.5 percent. United attributed the difference to higher-than-expected international airfares on average and to more business travel during the last week of June, around the U.S. Fourth of July holiday.

United Continental shares rose more than 1 percent in after-hours trading.

Passenger unit revenue of the biggest U.S. airlines has declined for more than a year as flights have outpaced demand and as foreign sales translated into fewer dollars, because of the rising strength of the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)