Fewer empty seats for Alaska, Horizon

There were fewer empty seats on flights flown by SeaTac's Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air last month than in the same month a year ago, the two airlines reported this week.

Alaska said its traffic measured in miles flown by paying passengers increased 12.9 percent in September over September 2009 while the airline’s capacity rose by 7.8 percent. The result was that 81.5 percent of Alaska’s seats were filled by paying passengers compared with 77.9 percent a year ago.

Horizon Air, Alaska’s sister regional airline, said its traffic fell by 2.9 percent in September over the same period in 2009. But its capacity dropped by a larger percentage, 5.9 percent. That translates to fuller planes.

Horizon’s aircraft had 76.1 percent of their seats filled in September compared with 73.7 percent in September 2009.