Southwest Airlines Co. is on pace to replace the US´s No. 1 airline for five years, American Airlines.
The domestic-only discount carrier already eclipsed American´s combined domestic and international traffic during the first five months of 2007, according to a government report.
Southwest carried 40.3 million passengers on domestic routes between January and May, an increase of 4.2% from last year.
American carried 40 million passengers during the January-May period, down 1.8% from last year´s levels, according to the AP.
Last year, Dallas-based Southwest was the No. 2 airline worldwide, according to International Air Transport Association passenger traffic statistics. It carried about 96.3 million passengers, ranking behind Fort Worth, Texas-based American, which carried about 100 million passengers.
American has been the top U.S. airline for the past five years, according to the Transportation Department´s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.