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US Airways says December revenue rose 4 percent

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- US Airways Group Inc. said on Friday that a key measure of revenue rose 4 percent in December on higher flying traffic.

The airline said December traffic rose 1.8 percent as measured by revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger flown one mile. The biggest gains were in Latin America and U.S. flights, while traffic across the Atlantic fell 6.4 percent.

Traffic gains come as more people fly or customers log more miles on a plane.

Flying capacity — the number of seats flown one mile — rose just 0.2 percent. Because traffic rose faster than capacity, planes were more full. Occupancy rose 1.3 percentage points to 82.7 percent.

Traffic increased for the full year, too, rising 2.9 percent compared to 2011. Domestic traffic, the airline's single biggest category, rose 3.6 percent for the year.

Capacity rose 2.3 percent on US Airways and on the regional airlines it owns directly. It said 2012 capacity will be up about 2 percent once it factors in flying done by other regional airlines it works with. Occupancy was up 0.4 percentage points to 83.7 percent.

US Airways has said it plans to increase 2013 flying capacity about 2.5 percent. Investors have been wary of boosting flying capacity, because airlines can generally charge more when seats are scarce. US Airways said 2012 capacity rose because it added slightly larger Airbus A321s to replace aging Boeing 737s, and because it had fewer canceled flights.