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Airlines are more crowded than ever

By Laura Batchelor, CNN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. airlines were more crowded than ever in April, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics found that U.S. airlines carried 59.6 million passengers in April 2010.

The airlines' load factors -- a way to measure airlines' fullness -- were at record highs for the month of April: 81.6% system wide, 82.5% for domestic flights and 79.3% for international flights.

Over the past few years, U.S. airlines had cut capacity due to the sharp increase in fuel costs and then to match the lower demand during the recession. The DOT said the number of passengers has slowly increased during the first four moths of 2010 compared to the same period last year, but is still 9% lower than what it was for the same time period in 2008.

Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500) carried more than passengers than any other U.S. airline in April while Southwest airlines carried the most domestic passengers and American Airlines (AMR, Fortune 500) carried the most international passengers, according the data in the release. To top of page

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