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Small-cap Watch List member Pinnacle Airlines (PNCL) issued its January traffic data:

During January, Pinnacle transported 690,559 Customers, 5.6% more than the same period in 2006. Passenger Load Factor was 65.0%, a decrease of 4.0 points over January 2006 levels. For the month, Pinnacle flew 484.5 million Available Seat Miles (”ASMs”), a 4.5% increase when compared to the same period in 2006. Pinnacle flew 315.0 million Revenue Passenger Miles (”RPMs”), a decrease of 1.5% over January 2006.

How did passenger miles fall when passengers were up? Shorter trips:

The average length of a Pinnacle flight was 454 statute miles compared to 477 statute miles in January 2006.

How did load factor fall with passengers up? More seats:

Throughout 2006, Pinnacle completed the conversion of its aircraft operating with 44 seats to 50 seat aircraft. As of January 31, 2007, all aircraft in the Pinnacle Airlines fleet, with the exception of the nine aircraft added to our fleet during January 2007, operated with 50 seats, providing more passenger lift to Northwest Airlines. As previously announced, the amended Airline Services Agreement with Northwest provides that Pinnacle receive back the fifteen aircraft removed from its fleet during 2005. Nine of these aircraft became part of Pinnacle’s active fleet during January 2007. Consequently, Pinnacle ended the month with 133 aircraft compared to 124 for the same month of 2006. The remaining six aircraft will become part of Pinnacle’s active fleet in February, increasing the fleet size to 139 aircraft.

As we recently pointed out, Pinnacle continues to add capacity, but their revenue arrangements with the major carriers mean that the revenue stream is more predictable. Still, we are somewhat new to the name, and any comments or clarifications would be helpful as we get up to speed.

PNCL 1-yr chart:

PNCL 1-yr chart

Source: Pinnacle Airlines Continues To Add Capacity