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AirTran Holdings Inc. said Tuesday its loss narrowed in the fourth quarter as it sought to offset surging fuel costs by flying fuller, more profitable planes. The low-cost airline posted a loss of $2.2 million, or 2 cents per share, compared to a loss of $3.6 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 26.5 percent to $583.8 million from $461.5 million.

Analysts expected a loss of 2 cents per share on revenue of $577.8 million, on average, according to a Thomson Financial poll.

AirTran's traffic rose 25.5 percent during the fourth quarter and its occupancy rose to 75.3 percent of seats filled by paying passengers, from 69 percent a year earlier. However, AirTran's unit costs climbed 7.7 percent as oil prices touched new highs, and non-fuel unit costs also rose. The company attributed the non-fuel increase to poor weather and higher costs for maintenance and other general items.

Whose seat next to GF for Saturday is still open...
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