August 12, 2005

American Airlines, Northwest, JetBlue raise fares

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Airlines, Northwest Airlines
and JetBlue Airways Corp. on Friday said they raised ticket
prices in various markets, seeking to recoup some of their
increased costs from record fuel prices.

The fare hikes follow similar moves by rivals including
Delta Air Lines Inc., UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and
Continental Airlines Inc., which began raising fares on

Most carriers said they raised fares to help mitigate the
impact of soaring fuel costs. Crude oil futures added to recent
gains on Friday, notching a fresh record above $66 a barrel.

"It had to happen," said Terry Trippler, airline expert at "The price of crude oil is out of line
obviously. Unfortunately the (fare) increases are not enough to
cover what has occurred, and we can expect more increase as
early as next week."

The airline industry has been struggling to combat costly
fuel. And low-cost competition has made it difficult for
airlines to pass along the expense to travelers.

No. 1 U.S. airline American, owned by AMR Corp., hiked
fares on a range of domestic routes, with increases mostly
ranging from $5 to $10 each way, spokesman Tim Smith said on
Friday. American raised its fares on Thursday.

No. 4 U.S. carrier, Northwest said it matched its rivals
fare hikes on Friday and has broadened its fare hikes to match
price caps of $599 and $699 by a key rival on some routes.

Discount carrier JetBlue raised fares by $5 on flights to
and from Florida and on some transcontinental flights,
spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said. JetBlue's fare hike took effect

The higher ticket prices did little to help the beleaguered
industry's shares, as oil prices raced to record highs above
$66 a barrel on Friday. Fuel has overtaken labor as the highest
cost for many of the airlines, and analysts say some carriers
could be driven into bankruptcy.

Delta shares were down 9 cents, or 5.03 percent, at $1.70,
Continental was down 42 cents, or 2.87 percent, at $14.20, and
AMR was down 18 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $13.22, all on the
New York Stock Exchange. On Nasdaq, Northwest was down 10
cents, or 2.43 percent, at $4.01, and JetBlue was off 10 cents,
or 0.53 percent, at $18.92.