CHARLOTTE -- US Airways provided a sign Monday of how rising oil prices and airfares might be curbing travel, reporting that passenger traffic in June was down slightly from last year.
The 0.6 percent dip in revenue passenger miles -- a unit that measures one paying passenger who flies one mile -- came despite the airline adding more seats in the air for the summer, typically the busiest time for leisure travel.
In addition, the airline reported a 5.4 percent drop in total passengers in June - from almost 5.9 million last year to fewer than 5.6 million this year. Revenue hasn't dropped, however, because the carrier is charging higher fares and more fees than last summer.
US Airways operates more than 80 percent of flights in Charlotte. The dip in June traffic may indicate that the higher cost of air travel - fares and fees for services once covered by ticket prices - that has resulted from record-high fuel prices has led some travelers to stay closer to home this summer.
Scott Kirby, president of US Airways, noted how the Tempe, Ariz.-based airline generated more revenue from its seats in June, and that demand for upcoming flights hasn't softened.
"As we progress through the busy summer travel season," Kirby said in a statement, "we continue to see strength in our forward bookings."
Smaller crowds this summer could be yet more bad news for an industry rocked by soaring oil prices.
US Airways announced in June it will cut up to 8 percent of flights this fall and 1,700 jobs, or almost 5 percent of its workforce. Along with new fees to check bags and redeem frequent-flier miles, the airline will start charging in August for non-alcoholic drinks during flights.