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SkyEurope passenger numbers rise 46% as on new routes

SkyEurope Airlines, a Slovak low-cost carrier, said August passenger numbers rose 46% as flights were added to southeastern Europe and summer resorts. The airline handled 350,451 passengers in the month compared with 240,653 people in August 2005, SkyEurope Holding AG, the carrier's Vienna-based parent company, said in an e-mailed statement today. Seat-capacity use dropped 2.9 percentage points to 86.5%. The company is expanding to southeastern European countries such as Romania to tap the rising number of air travelers as economic growth in the region is greater than in western Europe. Bratislava, Slovakia-based SkyEurope aimed to attract travelers for flights to Croatian coastal resorts during the summer. SkyEurope, the largest low-cost carrier in eastern Europe, hired UBS AG and CA-IB in July to help find financing to buy five Boeing Co.'s 737-700 aircraft. Shares of SkyEurope Holding surged 13% Aug. 29 after the Slovak low-cost airline said it will sell € 56.3 million ($72.2 million) worth of shares and bonds to fund growth. The shares were unchanged at € 1.86 at the close of trading in Vienna. (Bloomberg)