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United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL - Analyst Report) showed a modest year-over-year improvement in consolidated traffic for Jan 2013. Perked up activities in the Pacific and Latin regions aided the growth which was partially offset by weakness in the Atlantic territory.

On a year-over-year basis, airline traffic – measured in revenue passenger miles or RPMs, which implies revenue generated per mile per passenger – moved up 0.9% to 15.47 billion. Consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) for the month was 19.37 billion, down 1.9% from the first month of 2012.

The load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) improved to 79.9% from 77.7% in Jan 2012. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) is estimated to have increased 3–4% year over year.

Headquartered in Chicago, United Continental Holdings operates nearly 5,472 flights every day across 381 airports in 6 continents. The company recently announced plans to start twice-daily nonstop flights between Denver to Dickinson, N.D. from Jun 6, 2013.

United Continental is concentrating on optimizing its network and flight routes for further efficiency in fleet operations. In the coming months, the company will take delivery of more than two dozen new aircraft by The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report) to revamp its fleet structure.

With satellite-based Wi-Fi services launched for passengers on any long-haul international route, the company is confident of attracting more flyers, going forward. The services will be initially available on the company’s Boeing 747 aircraft and two Airbus 319 aircraft.

United Continental’s various strategic actions including the baggage delivery option, installation of Economy Plus seats and MileagePlus program are expected to give it a competitive edge over other industry players such as Delta Airlines (DAL - Analyst Report) and Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Analyst Report).

United Continental currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 that implies a Hold rating.

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