United Slows Growth in U.S. Seat Capacity as Airlines Pull Back

United Continental Holdings Inc. is slowing expansion in the supply of available U.S. seats this year, predicting growth of 1 percent or less.

Chief Financier Officer John Rainey offered the forecast Friday in an interview on CNBC. In April, Chicago-based United projected U.S. capacity would rise in a range of 0.2 percent to 1.2 percent in 2015, after a 1.3 percent drop in 2014.

United followed American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., which both said this month they would curb the supply of seats to match travel demand, a step that lets carriers bolster pricing power. Airline yields, or the average fare per mile, have been under pressure this year.

The U.S. Justice Department has started a probe into whether airlines colluded in restraining growth in capacity, which factors in the number of available seats and the miles they’re flown.

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