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After 14 months of declines, airline passenger revenue rose last month

There’s a bit of good news in the airline business.  Following 14 consecutive months of declines, passenger revenue rose 1.4 percent in January, compared with a year ago.

The report released today by the Air Transport Association of America, an industry trade group of U.S. airlines, was based on a sample group of carriers.

About 0.4 percent fewer passengers traveled on the airlines in January, however. But the average price to fly one mile rose 0.6 percent. It was the first increase since November 2008, the ATA said. Growth was strongest on trans-Atlantic routes, where passenger revenue rose 3.4 percent.

Meanwhile, cargo traffic rose 17 percent in December 2009. January figures aren’t yet available. For the year, however, cargo traffic declined 11 percent over 2008 traffic.

“The modest uptick in passenger revenue and the solid increase in cargo volumes are promising signs that air-transport demand may be at the beginning of a long-awaited recovery,” ATA president and CEO James May said in a statement.