Southwest Airlines bookings drop after fatal engine blowout

NEW YORK, June 4 (Reuters) - Southwest Airlines on Monday said it now expects its second-quarter unit revenue to decrease by about 3 percent from the year prior, primarily driven by lower bookings in the wake of a fatal engine blowout in April.

The Dallas-based carrier said ticket purchases have fallen in the weeks since an in-flight engine blowout on April 17 that shattered a window and killed a passenger, in the first passenger fatality on a U.S. commercial airline since 2009.

Southwest reduced its marketing campaigns after the incident, causing the drop in bookings, the airline said.

In response to sharply higher fuel prices and current revenue trends, Southwest also cut its full-year capacity growth projection to the low 4 percent range, compared with its previous plans to grow in the low 5 percent range year over year.

The airline said it will increase its capacity 3.5 percent in the second quarter - the lower end of its previous guidance of growth between 3.5 percent and 4 percent.

Shares of Southwest traded up at 1.66 percent, $51.81, in midday trading. Its shares have fallen 20.84 percent in the year to date. (Reporting by Alana Wise; editing by Jonathan Oatis)