CHICAGO – AMR Corp’s American Airlines has raised domestic fares, and some competitors have matched as the industry struggles to gain pricing power and rebound from the 2009 downturn, an AMR spokesman said on Thursday.
The fare hike, initiated on Tuesday, spurred increases from Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines on Wednesday. So far, UAL Corp’s United Airlines and US Airways Group have not matched.
“This increase represents the first attempted domestic hike of 2010 compared to four in 2009, 15 in 2008 and 17 in 2007,” said Rick Seaney, Chief Executive of Farecompare.com.
The airline industry was battered in 2009 by an economic recession that eroded travel demand — especially business travel. Major airlines, however, have been reporting a return of business travel demand and some predict better demand going forward.
Seaney said American hiked fares on 9,000 routes between cities by $16, $10 and $6 round-trip, covering most of American’s domestic route system. He said the fact that United and US Airways have not matched could indicate the industry will not embrace the fare hike and may roll it back.
“It’s odd that they didn’t jump in. It’s not a pattern that would bode well for the hike to continue,” Seaney said.