The Air Travel Price Index, released last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation, rose 10.3 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year—the biggest year-to-year jump since the index numbers were first published in 1995.
Among the 85 largest airline markets (ranked by passengers), the largest year-to-year fare index increase for the first quarter was 36.6 percent in Cincinnati, Ohio, followed by Greensboro/High Point, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; and Savannah, Ga. The smallest increases were in Charlotte, N.C., and Houston, Texas. The biggest fare index decrease was 4.6 percent for flights originating in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In other airline news, Delta Air Lines increased most domestic fares by $5 one-way. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Northwest Airlines said they were considering matching the increase, according to news reports. Airline experts say carriers will continue raising air fares, especially for business travelers.
Moreover, American Airlines, Southwest, Continental Airlines, and JetBlue Airways recently reported profits for the second quarter, and United Airlines parent UAL Corp, which emerged from bankruptcy in February, expects to post its first quarterly profit since 2000.